The Nigerian Navy on Monday said it has deployed more warships and helicopters to tackle maritime crime in the Eastern waters.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. Sanusi Ibrahim, said eight ships, two helicopters were deployed in a week-long sea exercise tagged “Operation Beni Kekere”.
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Ibrahim disclosed this during the flag-off ceremony of the Joint Eastern and Central Naval Command’s sea exercise in Port Harcourt, Rivers.
He said that the sea exercise would also include anti-piracy operations, protection of oil facilities and search and rescue operations among others.
“The exercise involves a multi-faceted deployment of the two commands’ assets both at sea and in the backwaters, and is aimed at demonstrating our operational capability to securing our contiguous Areas of Responsibility.
“Our area of responsibility falls within the Niger Delta region in line with the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Awwal Gambo Strategic Directive 2021,” the FOC said.
Ibrahim said that the sea exercise equally presents an opportunity to show case Nigerian Navy’s commitment to the regional security arrangement in the Gulf of Guinea, which Nigeria is a major stakeholder. He said, “Nigeria’s maritime domain is dominant in the Gulf of Guinea with its enormous resources and remains strategic to our national security and development.
“We are also conscious that these resources have been persistently threatened by piracy, sea robbery, crude oil theft and illegal bunkering as well as iIlegal unreported and unregulated fishing among other crimes.
“The NN and other security agencies have achieved landmark feats in curtailing these threats, the persistence of the perpetrators requires us to re-strategise in order to consistently deny them freedom of action.”