The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy said it has shut down more than 146 illegal Refineries and seized over 23,000 bags of smuggled rice within the last few months of its operation.
The Flag Officer, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran made this known at the Nigerian navy ship jubilee held in Ikot Abasi Akwa Ibom State, Saturday.
The Flag Officer informed that the Command cumulatively patrolled a total of about 135 thousand hours, which led to arrest of suspects, seizures of materials, destruction of illegal facilities and discouraged illegal activities.
Adeniran said, “ln the last few months we have been able to achieve some of our set targets in spite of some challenges. To a great extent, we have successfully deployed ships and boats in order to tackle maritime crime such as illegal bunkering, crude oil theft and smuggling amongst others.
“It is gratifying to state that the Command cumulatively patrolled a total of about 135 thousand hours. Our relentless patrols have led to arrest of suspects, seizures of materials, destruction of illegal facilities. These has discouraged illegal activities within Eastern Naval Command Areas of Responsibility.
“The Command through its efforts has been able to shut down more than 146 illegal refineries.
“Also, the Command seized more than 23 thousand of 50kg bags of smuggled imported rice and several other contrabands.
“It is believed that with the reduction of smuggling activities, the Command has been able to support Federal Government efforts in revamping the economy and also enhancing the activities of our local farmers.
Further, the Flag officer revealed that its persistence pressured some militant groups to rethink and change their ways, with not less than 203 Bakassi Strike Force members recently surrendering along with their weapons, in Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers States.
He added that more are still being expected to do likewise in coming weeks
In the area of personnel welfare and physical security measures, Adeniran noted there has been improvement.
“The recent stone laying for 300 bed accommodation for students in Nigerian Navy Secondary School Port harcourt, commissioning of the remodeled Naval Medical Centre and the expanded 9 to 18 holes Sea Lord Golf Course in NNS PATHFINDER by CNS were some of the efforts made in order to provide quality education, health, and sporting facilities in the Command.
“In furtherance to ENC little milestone, the Command is currently witnessing 40 projects undertaking by Ministry of Defence, Naval Headquarters, Niger Delta Development Commission and units under Command.” He said
He however expressed his gratitude to personnel of other sister Services, para-military organizations, host communities friends of the Command and civilians that have contributed to the successes achieved so far, while also urging them to redouble their efforts.