Fri. Apr 19th, 2024
By Evelyn Usman

Outgone Flag Officer Commanding ,FOC Western Naval Command,WNC of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa on Tuesday, disclosed that 74 persons were arrested for  offences ranging from drug trafficking, pipeline vandalisation, sea robbery  among others, within the command’s  Area of Responsibility in the South west region of the country, last year.

Recovered were  178,650 litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit , 29 vehicles and other equipment valued over N500 million.

Rear Admiral Gbassa , made the disclosure  while reeling out  the command’s achievements in 2021, at the occasion of his farewell parade at the NNS Beecroft parade ground.

Gbassa, revealed that   several high-profile vessels and persons involved in drug trafficking were arrested during the period under review.  Among them were  the arrest of MV CHAYENEE NAREE and MT KARTERIA  conveying cocaine from Brazil to Nigeria, an arrest he said effectively disrupted the international illegal trade on the route.

According to him, “The Western Naval Command under my watch, initiated a series of operations to combat the menace of piracy, illegal oil bunkering, drug trafficking and other related crimes within the Command’s Area of Responsibility.

“ We conducted EX OMI MIMO (CLEAR WATER) to enhance the security of the Command’s maritime domain, EX OLUSO, a harbour defence exercise aimed at working up the ships and Operation OKUN ALAFIA to consolidate the gains of enhanced security in the Nations Maritime Environment and maintain credible presence at sea with over 7,000 hours of patrols amongst others.

“Cumulatively, these efforts resulted in the Command recording the lowest number of incidences of pirate attacks and sea robbery in the last 28 years and by extension, the Nigerian Maritime Domain and the Gulf of Guinea in general as attested to by the International Maritime Bureau Report   of 2021.

“Similarly, under, JTF SW Op AWATSE, we emplaced a series of measures that led to the arrest and disruption of activities of various notorious pipeline vandals particularly of those operating at Baruwa Area of Alimosho Local Government Area  of Lagos. The seizure  on  August 12, 2021, of four tanker trucks and subsequent trailing and arrest of some of the kingpins, effectively restored sanity to the hitherto criminal hotspot.

” It is heartwarming that Op AWATSE conducted a total of 1,126 patrols leading to the arrest of 74 persons, recovery  of 178,650 litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit which were decanted to NNPC storage facility and 29 vehicles and other equipment valued at over N500 million. Majority of the seized vehicles have been handed over to the NSCDC in line with the Standard Operating Procedure, for prosecution. It is pertinent to state that these efforts ensured unhindered flow of petroleum products on the System 2B pipeline and availability of products to the populace”.

Speaking earlier during the handover ceremony at the WNC conference hall, he attributed the feats recorded during the period under review to the commitment, hard work and dedication of the officers and men of the command.  He therefore appealed to them to extend the same hand of fellowship to his successor, Rear Admiral   Yakubu Wambai.

Responding,  the new FOC, who  described Gbasa as a course mate and friend, stated that  Lagos state was not a new terrain to him, as he had worked in different capacities there.  While lauding  his predecessor for the sterling achievements recorded during his time as the  FOC West, Rear Admiral Wambai assured that with the same assistance from officers and men of the command, he would either surpass or sustain the bar raised by his predecessor.

Credit | Vanguard

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