By Godfrey Bivbere
BAYELSA State government has entered into a partnership with the Nigerian Navy to ensure security for maritime operations in the state and region.
To this end, the state is advocating increased presence of the Nigerian Navy particularly at the Eastern flank of the state to curtail maritime criminality.
The state Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd) made the call on Monday when officers of the Naval War College, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
The Deputy Governor expressed the state government’s readiness to collaborate with the Nigerian Navy towards safeguarding the waterways and promoting socio-economic development not only in the state but also in the country at large.
According to him, the choice of Bayelsa for the study tour of officers of the College is not a coincidence as the state has the longest coastline in the country, which is prone to maritime criminality.
His words: “As long as maritime criminality exists, it poses a great threat to a state like Bayelsa and to its socio-economic development not only in Bayelsa but the country at large. I believe that what you learn will contribute to safeguarding not only the state but also the Niger Delta and the country as a whole.
“The Eastern axis has no security governance which iswhy it is the breeding ground for most of these miscreants. You may look at it and recommend how we can establish permanent operational naval bases in those areas to control their activities.”
“We are looking forward to collaborating with the Nigerian Navy and other sister security agencies to enhance security in the state.”
Rear Admiral John Jonah who also called for the provision of adequate logistics to enable the Nigerian Navy effectively combat sea robbery, recommended joint operations with other security agencies to stamp out criminal activities on the waterways.
The Deputy Governor urged the Naval War College to look into the possibility of establishing permanent operational bases such as the one in Koluama, Southern Ijaw local government towards reducing crime at the eastern axis of the state.
In his remarks, the team leader, Course three and Commandant of the Naval War College, Rear Admiral Adesanye Ayobanjo, said the theme of the study tour is, “Combating Sea Robbery Towards Enhancing Socio-economic Development in Bayelsa State.”
Rear Admiral Ayobanjo noted that the study tour was designed to enable participants to understand the collaborative efforts between the state government and various security agencies towards identifying and addressing security challenges in the state as well as proffer workable solutions to security issues.
“The Naval War College, Nigeria has a mission to train senior officers of the Nigerian Navy, Army and Air force to make them function effectively at the operational level of warfare especially in instances where the use of maritime force is a policy option.”