The Nigerian Navy has said that setting ablaze vessels intercepted for engaging in crude oil theft and other illegal bunkering within the Nigerian maritime domain will continue until a new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and other extant regulations are reviewed.
The Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Umar Chugali stated this on Monday while speaking in Wari, Delta State.
Chugali, while embarking on a familiarisation tour of Naval Units under his mandate told journalists at the Navy Base, Warri, Delta State that “so far, every Naval personnel, unit and establishment is operating under that SOP which, for now, is very effective until any other means is devised”.
“We are operating by SOP and also within extant regulations,” he clarified.
According to him, “it has been discovered that for now, the immediate response is to ensure that those illegalities on the maritime domain do not exist. Maybe, later it could be reviewed”, he stated.
The Flag Officer Commander who was received by the Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship Delta, Commodore Chindo Yahaya, told newsmen that the Navy has been collaborating and forming synergies with other security agencies operating in the South-South maritime environment by forming Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Delta Force (OPDF) with the mandate to ensure that the maritime environment is safe.
He said, “It is not the Nigerian Navy work alone. It is not even a work for the security agencies alone but also all the stakeholders starting from the host communities, people operating in the environment and everybody around in the Niger Delta are part of the movement to ensure that the environment is safe.
“But we are collaborating, cooperating and synergising effectively so that we will form that barrier where illegalities will not thrive”.
Chugali maintained that the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies operating in the maritime domain have zero tolerance for any act of criminality warning that “any person operating in the maritime environment that is involved in criminality will not have hiding place”.
He spoke further, “The morale of the men is very high, the Commanders are ready, the platforms are ready and we are going all ways out to ensure that no drop of oil misses and Nigeria will benefit more from her God-given resources.
“Having addressed the personnel, what I saw has been very very commendable in that the officers, men, and civilian staff in this area are very willing, able, and ready to discharge their responsibilities for the Nigerian Navy in this area by ensuring that the maritime domain generally is safe and secure from all forms of criminalities”.