- As Nigerian Navy Restates Commitment To Protecting Nation’s Maritime Domain
Newly-appointed Executive Director in charge of Marine and Operations at the Nigerian Ports Authourity(NPA); Dr Davis Sokonte has expressed willingness to work effectively in line with the mission of the new leadership le d by Ms Hadiza Balla-Usman.
He however appealed to the media to balance their stories on the activities of the management at all times.
He said at the hand-over ceremony from the outgoing Managing Director, Alhaji Habib Abdullahi to the new that: “We are here for service to this nation. This is the gateway to the national economy and we are assuring you that we are going to be very good gate keepers.
“The Managing Director as far as I know her, you must have heard of her achievements when she was in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“So, we are assured that we have somebody, who knows what the challenge is, who knows what to do in the new environment.
“We are certain that by the grace of God, we are going to achieve the result. “We are expecting all of you to cooperate with us”, even as she added that anything less than world class services would be unacceptable.”
“Change can be difficult but when change is properly handled, which I believe this team will do, is going to be very pleasurable.“We expect solidarity from you and we believe that with our solidarity and your own solidarity, we shall move the nation forward.
“We know that the press has a lot to do whether to sustain us or to breakdown.“We believe whatever you want, before you write, try to get our own side of the story. “Do not run to town without getting our own side of the story because you want to meet the deadline.
“The deadline is that the story is correct not for us to begin to run through and approach the fire brigade system.
On her part, the new MD said :“As you all know, the country expects much from all of us.“Our ports are the critical artery of the economy and it is our duty to ensure that the operators deliver port services at the standard that our businesses deserve in the 21st century.
“While supporting the present administration’s agenda of economic diversity, we would strive for enhanced operating efficiencies to facilitate improve revenue generation. “We will listen to our customers, importers, exporters and other agencies working in the ports to improve on our service delivery to the nation.
“Anything less than the world class service is simply not acceptable.“Attaining such height is a mission to which we can all subscribe to. “As a team leader, I have come to add my best efforts to yours so that we can collectively achieve result for our industry.“ We must work as a team pursuing common goals with professionalism and diligence.
In the meantime, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has restated commitment of the service to protecting the nation’s maritime domain for better service delivery.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, said this when the Senate Committee on Navy paid him an oversight visit at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja.
Ibas said that NN had recorded tremendous achievements principally in the area of maritime domain awareness, Policing operations, fleet recapitalisation and training. Others include: exercises and operations, personnel motivation, research and development and disposal of expired ammunition.
“We have been able to monitor and checkmate maritime crimes, especially crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, sea robbery and piracy at the Central Command, Yenagoa.
“Some coordination centres have been activated and data communication with deployed units is being improved, manning is also being enhanced through continued training,’’ Ibas said.
He expressed optimism that the ongoing integration with Falcon Eye project and Boat Tracker would ensure versatility in the NN operations.The chief of naval staff also said that the vigorous patrol embarked upon by the NN had yielded positive result and much difference in its operations in recent times.
“The nation’s water became extremely dangerous at the beginning of this year where 49 piracy incidents were recorded between January and April.
“But NN responded decisively by mounting an anti-piracy operation tagged “Operation Tsare Teku’’ which has been very successful so far, limiting attacks to just three incidents since April.
“The NN had also arrested 27 vessels and over 200 crew members since January. Over 65 illegal refineries, 13 barges, 23 large wooden boats and 180 auxiliary equipment were destroyed during the same period,’’ he said.
According to him, these operations enabled the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) to nominate 883 tankers to load about 426,290,855 barrels of crude oil and allied products.Ibas said the NN had also adopted a double-pronged strategy toward acquiring ships to carry out its operations.He said that the NN could be more successful in countering the maritime crimes if given the necessary platforms and equipment.
The CNS said that in spite of the tremendous achievements recorded by NN so far, there were some challenges, especially in area of platforms, shortage of barrack accommodation and inadequate funding.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Sen. Isah Misau, expressed confidence in the CNS and urged him to move the NN to enviable position, going by his track records.
“We want to assure you that the committee will work and partner with the NN to ensure that opportunities are explored toward ensuring that NN becomes more modern and sophisticated in carrying out its role.
“We will also assist NN to overcome its challenges in area of inadequate funding, decaying infrastructure such as jetties, barrack accommodation and lack of platforms for effective policing of the nation’s maritime environment,’’ he said.
Misau said that the committee was also making serious efforts to ensure that NN was assisted through budgetary provisions.The chairman said that the committee had already made representations to the leadership of the National Assembly (NASS), stressing the need for an upward review, especially of the overhead budgetary provision.
This, he said, was in view of the rising cost of lubricants to run the new ships acquired by the service.Misau said that the committee had not also forgotten the CNS’s appeal for the consideration of the NN hydrography office and NN dockyard as independent budget cost centres.