By Evelyn Usman
The pulling Out Parade Ceremony to mark the official exit of former Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibass, from the Nigerian Navy, was held Friday, at the Nigerian Navy Ship Quorra, Apapa, Lagos, with the celebrant declaring that the Navy under his watch was able to combat various acts of criminalities in the nation’s maritime domain, in 66 months.
Statistics in the last five years showed that 4,229 suspects were arrested in connection with maritime illegalities, while 5,099 illegal refineries were destroyed.
A total of 404 vessels were arrested, out of which 13 were forfeited to the Federal Government. In addition, 439 barges, 531-speed boats, 2, 977 wooden boats, including 140 tankers and 404 vehicles used for various illegalities, were impounded.
Speaking at the occasion, the out- gone CNS noted that the huge dependence of Nigeria on its maritime resources could not be overemphasized and therefore urged officers and ratings to rededicate themselves to their tasks and responsibilities, to ensure the safety of the nation’s maritime domain.
He disclosed that some achievements were also recorded in the areas of operational and administrative infrastructure delivery, logistics, as well as human resource management and administration.
He said that the Maritime Domain Awareness facility was sustained and expanded, adding that the Service also prioritised force protection like never before, by purchasing large quantities of ordnance, as well as strengthened their storage by widespread supply of standard armouries and strict accountability.
He attributed the achievement recorded to the efforts of his lieutenants and entire workforce of the Nigerian Navy, and the procurement of platforms and fleet renewal by the Federal Government.
He highlighted some of the platforms procured during his tenure to include: Offshore Patrol Vessels, OPVs, Seaward Defence Boats, SDB, Fast Patrol Boats, I PBs, Inshore Patrol Crafts, IPCs, Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) and Riverine Patrol Boats, including helicopters, training LST ships, survey ships among others which he said were either underway to Nigeria for delivery or at an advanced stage of building.
He said: “As it is said, to whom much is given, much is expected, which is why in the last 66 months, together with you, that is, from the Principal Staff Officers, Commanders at various levels, officers, men and civilian staffs, we had committed to this role put before us to tackle the network of criminalities in the forms of piracy, sea robbery, illegal bunkering, crude oil theft, of illegal refineries, kidnapping hijack, trafficking, environmental abuse and several other infringements and infractions in our maritime domain, and with the grace of Almighty God, we have apprehended a great number of perpetrators confiscated equipment of their dishonourable trade, saved the nation incalculable losses, ensured reliable persecution of crimes and in the process drastically reduced the impact of their unpatriotic and ungodly acts”.
“We also successfully carried out infrastructural development in some of our locations. These include upgrade of Naval Shipyard, reconstruction of NNS Beecroft jetty, completion of a second NN reference of hospital, a world-class trauma centre in Calabar, Cross River State and the construction of a standard sports stadium in Navy Town, Ojo, Lagos, extensive infrastructural creation take-off of the Admiralty University, Ibusa, Delta state and its formal commencement of academic activities, now into the third year running.
“I make bold to say that some achievements were also recorded in the areas of operational and administrative infrastructure delivery, logistics as well as human resource management and administration.
“A number of personnel accommodations were constructed and or renovated, associated facilities refurbished and utilities restored and strengthened across the breadth and length of the country. The NN was able to make a commendable breakthrough in the delivery of quality houses.
“Training environment was generally upgraded, training contents reorganized and several aids including computer simulations were inducted. Effective maintenance of these assets was also taken into consideration with the expansion of repair capacity, numerous docking and major over hoards and acquisitions of heightened maintenance skills to manufacture levels”.
Noting that the maritime environment was strategic to the nation’s survival and prosperity of the citizenry, as well as the maintenance of the nation’s superiority in the comity of nations, Ibass, urged officers and ratings to rededicate themselves to their tasks and responsibilities, as well as make exemplary discharge of service the certainty of their lives and a routine.
He further charged them to be unwavering, undivided and have a single-minded commitment, in order to deliver their constitutional mandate, urging them to accord more support to his successor, Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo.
Eminent personalities drawn from all walks of life were present at Ibas’ Pulling Out Parade.