…As Navy seeks MDAs cooperation for speedy disposal of Maritime cases***
Army authorities on Friday, confirmed the killing of a Colonel, a Captain and three soldiers by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno.
The Deputy Director, Public Relations, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Col. Isa Ado, gave the confirmation in a statement in Abuja.
He said that the incident occurred on Wednesday in Jakana area of Borno, adding that the officers and soldiers were on transit from Maiduguri to Damaturu when they ran into an ambush by the terrorists.
Ado, however, said that troops of 212 Battalion deployed at Forward Operating Base (FOB), Jakana, dealt with the insurgents, neutralising unconfirmed number of them.
He said that Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists tried to infiltrate the military base to garner logistics but were repelled by the troops.
According to him, the terrorists came at about 1845 hours in seven Gun Trucks and fought fiercely to infiltrate the camp, but the attack was thwarted with heavy fire and bombardment by the gallant troops.
“The terrorists could not withstand the fire power of the troops after losing significant number of equipment and personnel in an exchange of fire.
“They lost initiative and withdrew in disarray along Benisheikh-Damaturu axis and abandoned a damaged utility gun truck which was earmarked to convey looted items.
“Troops immediately followed in hot pursuit and captured one anti-aircraft gun, two Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Tubes, two AK 47 Rifles, 15 machine gun rounds and 12 AK47 NATO rounds.
“Sadly, a Colonel and a Captain as well as three soldiers on transit from Maiduguri to Damaturu ran into an ambush staged by the fleeing terrorists from the Jakana axis, which led to their unfortunate death,” Ado said.
He said that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, had commiserated with the families of the fallen heroes.
The spokesman also said that Buratai had reiterated that the army would never be deterred in the ongoing “noble and patriotic fight against terrorism and insurgency in the North-East’’.
According to him, Buratai commended the efforts of the entire troops in the theatre and charged them to remain focused, highly committed and professional in the discharge of their constitutional roles.
“The sacrifices of the fallen heroes in the ongoing fight against terrorism and insurgency, is no doubt painful to all.
“But, that will further spur us to do more to ensure that our country remain secure, peaceful and free from terrorist activities for the overall interest of the nation,” he quoted Buratai as saying.
In the meantime, the Nigerian Navy on Thursday in Abuja, called for the strengthening of inter-agency cooperation among Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ease interaction and speedy disposal of maritime offences.
Director of Legal Services, Naval Headquarters, Abuja, Commodore Jamila Malafa, made the call at a stakeholders meeting on Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures Act on arrest, detention and prosecution of vessels and persons in Nigeria’s maritime environment.
The call was sequel to the executive summary of the report on outcome of proceedings on request for provisional measures instituted by Switzerland Confederation against Nigeria at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg, Germany.
Malafa said that there was need for the Navy to liaise with relevant stakeholders to ensure that cases involving arrested vessels were charged to court timely, and the matter dispensed with speedily.
She called for capacity-building of navy lawyers in Maritime Law at the International Maritime Law Insitiute, Malta and other relevant institutions to equip them to effectively advice and handle all aspects of maritime law.
Malafa also canvassed the need for the Service and all government agencies to respond to correspondence swiftly to avoid putting the nation in any precarious situation.
She noted that if Nigeria had responded to the several overtures from Switzerland to discuss the MT SAN PADRE PIO case, it would have saved the country the financial and human commitments spent to defend its stance at the ITLOS.
She said that certain lessons had been learnt from the entire case of the vessel, and if implemented, would reposition the Nigerian Navy and Nigeria on a better pedestal.
The ship, MT San Padre Pio, was arrested by the Navy on Jan. 23, 2018, for operating in Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone without licence.
The report stated that the vessel and her crew were charged for illegally dealing in petroleum products and forgery at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division.
It said nevertheless, that Switzerland initiated an action against Nigeria at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).
It disclosed that parties were heard on June 21 to 22, 2019, and the Tribunal adjourned the matter to July 6, for ruling.
According to it, the tribunal ruled among other decisions, that Switzerland and Nigeria shall refrain from taking any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the arbitral tribunal.