The Nigerian Navy has flagged off ‘Operation Water Guard’ (OP WG) to combat smuggling, piracy, oil theft, and other illicit activities along the Western waters.
Flagging of the operation in the Badagry area of Lagos on Thursday, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, said the initiative was in response to the escalating maritime threats in the creeks and on waterways in Lagos and Ogun states.
Admiral Hassan explained that the operation was a strategic initiative aligned with the Navy’s mandate to ensure the safety of Nigeria’s maritime environment, adding that the operation specifically targeted the Badagry water and land axis around Ashipa, a border community to Benin Republic.
He said, “The Nigerian Navy has arrested contraband goods particularly Premium Motor Spirit (petrol), drugs and foreign parboiled rice worth billions of Naira. These could have affected availability of petroleum products as well as jeopardized efforts of small and medium scale enterprises.
“The drugs in particular could have further affected health and stability of the citizens. Eradicating these menace prompted the operation, which covers the maritime environment and adjoining land areas.
“The operation involves deployment of ships, boats, quad bikes and air assets, showcasing the Navy’s robust capabilities in safeguarding Nigeria’s maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea. Prominent features of the Operation include interdiction, beach patrols, VBSS, cordon and search. It will also involve sustained presence to eliminate other crimes.”
The commander further stated that the Nigerian Navy would ensure the nations maritime domain is conducive during the yelutide period and beyond.
He also solicited the support of communities, noting that the operation would not add to already established checkpoints along the road but would be an intelligence-led check which he said would complement the sustained presence at sea.