•87 tankers arrested, 15m litres of petrol, diesel recovered
•Reveals new counter-terrorism centre to ease security coordination for incoming govt
•Lists other security achievements in the last 8 years
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday expressed delight that some key threats within Nigeria’s maritime environment, such as crude oil theft, piracy, sea robbery, as well as illegal unregulated and unreported fishing were being effectively tackled.
According to him, over 220 vessels involved in maritime criminality within Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Republic of Togo, between August 2018 and March 2023, were prosecuted.
President Buhari also said over 87 oil tankers involved in various crude oil and product theft had been arrested, as theft of over three million barrels of crude oil was prevented, while 15 million litres of petrol and diesel were recovered.
He also inaugurated the new Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, and National Counterterrorism Centre, NCTC, in Abuja, as part of efforts to address evolving security challenges in the country, especially terrorism and violent extremism.
Speaking at the inauguration of the two world-class facilities, the President said it would serve as a major legacy to provide the incoming administration with infrastructure to effectively coordinate national security and counter-terrorism efforts.
President Buhari used the occasion to outline significant milestones achieved by his administration on National Security, including gains in combating terrorism, armed banditry, kidnapping, separatist tendencies, crude oil theft, piracy as well as militancy in the South-South and cyber-security.
The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, noted that his administration had since its coming, invested heavily on stabilising and enhancing security across the country.
”This was largely achieved through the valiant efforts of our Armed Forces and other security agencies, in collaboration with our regional and international partners but above all, the support and cooperation of the Nigerian citizens.”
“Issues of crude oil theft, sea robbery, piracy and militancy in the South-South are equally being addressed.
”Most of these threats have transnational linkages thereby reinforcing the need for regional and international cooperation as critical enablers to enhance our national security,” he said.
On maritime security, President Buhari expressed delight that some key threats within Nigeria’s maritime environment such as piracy, sea robbery, crude oil theft as well as illegal unregulated and unreported fishing, were being effectively tackled.
He said between August 2018 and March 2023, over 220 vessels involved in maritime criminality within Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Republic of Togo, had been prosecuted.
He commended the Falcon Eye maritime domain awareness project, domiciled with the Nigerian Navy and coordinated by ONSA, for providing high-quality real-time intelligence, leading to the arrest and prosecution of economic saboteurs.
He added that over 87 oil tankers involved in various crude oil and product theft had been arrested, the theft of over 3 million barrels of crude oil prevented and 15 million litres of petrol and diesel recovered.
In his welcome address, the National Security Adviser, Major General, Babagana Monguno, retd, said the dynamic nature of global and domestic security environment necessitated the modification and expansion of some of the functions of ONSA.
”The new office for the NCTC is designed to accommodate the additional workforce and improved technological capabilities of the Centre, particularly the Exclusive Devices Analysis Office, EDAO, increasing activities of countering violent extremism department and joint terrorism analysis branch.
”The new ONSA and NCTC complex boasts of office spaces, a world-class hall, conference rooms, team rooms, laboratories, an auditorium and an operations/crisis centre,” he said.
In his goodwill message, the UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, commended President Buhari and his government for championing the NCTC, saying ”this is no doubt part of your legacy that will enable Nigeria continue to address domestic and regional security challenges’.’
Schmale, who was represented by Kimaris Toogood, Peace and Advisor, Office of the Resident Coordinator (UN Nigeria), also commended the progress made by the Nigerian military to degrade the operational capacity of Islamic State West Africa Province and Boko Haram and to improve intelligence gathering on suspected terrorists.
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