By G9ija

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has urged the Nigerian Navy to strengthen its operational efficiency to check piracy and criminal activities in the maritime sector.

The governor made the call on Wednesday when the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral, Awwal Gambo, and his delegation visited in Asaba.

Okowa, however, lauded the operational performance index of Naval personnel in the state.

He noted that with sustained surveillance and peace, Delta as a coastal state, would increase its contribution in crude oil production to the national treasury.

“I welcome you to Delta State. I want to thank you also for this visit.

“There is no doubt that Delta is a very important coastal state, particularly because, it is a major producer of crude oil in our nation.

“I want to thank the Navy for the efforts they have put in consistently in helping to secure our state and even working with other sister security agencies in securing even our lands.

“So, we want to appreciate you for the good work you are doing in the state.

“We are aware that you work with a lot of our people who assist in area of intelligence in being able to carry out your various surveillance activities.

“We are also grateful to the officers you have sent to us. They have been quite helpful and committed to their works both on land and in waters,” he said.

Okowa assured the Chief of Naval Staff that his administration would continue to assist in making the job of Naval personnel both on the land and in water easier through the provision of logistics.

Okowa said that the synergy among various security agencies has yielded positive results.

On the Admiralty University, Ibusa, the governor thanked the Navy for bringing the institution to the state.

He said that his administration would contribute toward the growth of the university.

“As for the barracks, we have spoken about it through your officer at the state security council.

“It is a contract awarded before we came in. I think we are sorting out the issue of re-costing after six years, so that the contractor can commence work very soon.

“The internal roads in Logistics Command would be done because there is a provision for it in the budget,” he said.

Earlier, Gambo said he was in Delta to familiarise with the state and to also, build on the existing cordial relationship between the Delta State Government and the Navy.

He said the Nigeria Navy was committed to the safety of the maritime space especially in ensuring that piracy and crude oil theft were stamped out from the maritime sector.

Gambo disclosed that legitimate socio-economic activities would thrive as a result of the security that was being provided both on water and land in active collaboration with other sister security agencies.

He appealed to Gov. Okowa to do more in the provision of facilities in the various Naval formations in the state.

Gambo outlined measures in place to stem the tide of piracy to include surveillance, response and maritime law enforcement.

He stressed that the approach had reduced criminal activities in the maritime space.

“Delta, as a coastal state, has a very long cordial relationship with the Nigerian Navy and off course, with our shared value.

” It is only apt to use this opportunity to consolidate on the already existing relationship between the Nigerian Navy, the government and the good people of Delta State,” he said.