By G9ija

The Nigerian Navy Thursday said it would next year go tougher than before on some of its senior personnel colluding with bunkers, oil thieves and other maritime criminals sabotaging the nation’s economy.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral A.Z. Gambo, warned that any act of collusion with criminals or sabotage of measures emplaced to checkmate illegalities would be met with stiff sanctions in accordance with the law of the land.

He spoke in Abuja during the decoration of the newly promoted senior officers of the Nigerian Navy.

He said the Navy, in collaboration with other security agencies, had continuously strived to protect the Nigeria’s economic mainstay through various operations to counter oil bunkering and crude oil theft.

“While there are significant achievements in the fight against these maritime crimes, there are a pocket of personnel still colluding with criminals to sabotage these efforts,” he said.

He urged the newly promoted officers to be above board and ensure that their subordinates equally buy into the zero-tolerance stance of the Nigerian Navy against all forms of illegalities and criminalities at sea and ashore.

He said the year 2021 had witnessed significant disruption in all facets of national lives with the Armed Forces now more than ever required to play more significant roles to ensure security and prosperity of the nation.”

The naval chief asked them to be more dedicated and display unalloyed loyalty to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in order to address the myriad of security challenges plaguing Nigeria.

“Your ingenuity, resourcefulness and integrity will be required as senior officers of your navy to reposition the Service in order to discharge its constitutional role for the security and prosperity of Nigeria,” he said.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, noted that 2021 was challenging for security forces, especially the military personnel involved in the internal security, saying 2022 would be more challenging in various aspects.

“It’s going to get tougher not only in Nigeria, but across the world and of course our confidence is that we have a crop of officers of the Armed Forces that would meet the demand of these challenges in the year 2022.

Meanwhile, Acting Directior, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Benard Onyeuko, in a statement yesterday, said “The anti-crude oil theft efforts of the Joint Task Force South-South Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) this year led to the demobilization of about 1,423 illegal oil refining sites, each of which contains many camps; over 4,929 storage facilities and 536 large wooden boats, popularly called “Cotonou boats.”

The Defence Headquarters yesterday the troops of the Joint Task Force South-South Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) arrested 567 criminal suspects in the South-South this year.

He said the JTForce conducted both kinetic and non-kinetic operations in Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers States, Ondo, Edo, Anambra, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom and the Cross River States.

He said: “To effectively tackle the security challenges in the area, the OPDS is made into a multi-agency organisation comprising elements drawn from 12 different security agencies which are NA, NN, NAF, DIA, NPF, DSS, NSCDC, NCS, NIS, NCoS, NDLEA and EFCC.