Rear Adm. Umar Chugali, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Central Naval Command, has warned criminals to desist from crude oil theft and other illegalities in the maritime domain.
Chugali, who gave the warning during his maiden familiarisation visit to the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) on Monday in Warri, said that the Navy has zero tolerance for criminals sabotaging the nation’s economic assets.
The FOC was received by the Commander, NNS DELTA, Commodore Chindo Yahaya, at the naval base in Warri.
Addressing newsmen shortly after inspecting facilities at the naval base, the FOC said that the Nigerian Navy was determined to curtail crude oil theft in the maritime space.
“Let me re-emphasise that the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies operating in the maritime space have zero tolerance for criminals sabotaging the nation’s economic assets.
“Anyone operating in the maritime environment that indulges in criminal activities will not have a hiding place.
“The Commander is ready, the platforms are ready and the morals of the officers and men are high, so we are going all out to ensure that not a drop of crude oil is missing,” he said.
Chugali also said that the Navy would continue to partner stakeholders, including the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operations Delta Safe (OPDS), host communities and others, to effectively combat crude oil theft.
“We are collaborating and synergising with not just the security agencies but all stakeholders to effectively form a barrier where illegalities will not thrive in the maritime environment,” he said.
Speaking on the continuous setting ablaze of seized crude oil and others, the FOC said that the Navy was operating in accordance with the stipulated “Standard Operating Procedures” (SOP).
He added that the current SOP was very effective, stressing that probably other means could be devised in future.
“We have a Standard Operating Procedures handed to us. After evaluating every aspects of the environment.
“For now it has been discovered that immediate response is to ensure that these things does not exist.
“Maybe, it could be reviewed later but for now, every naval personnel and unit are operating according to the SOP and the extant regulations,” Chugali said.
On his maiden visit, Chugali expressed joy over the facilities and conduct of the personnel.
He noted that they were ready to discharge their responsibilities by ensuring that the maritime domain is free from criminal activities.
“I have gone round all the units to understand their living, operations and administrative conditions so that I can know how to go about administering them.
“I have seen about four units in Delta. What I saw is very commendable. The officers, men and the civilian Navy are in high spirits.
“They are willing to discharge their responsibilities in the areas by ensuring that the maritime domain is safe, secure and free from all forms of criminalities,” Chugali said.