Since the appointment of service chiefs in July , 2023 which included Vice- Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla as the new Chief of Naval staff , the remarkable improvement in both local, and international activities of the Nigeria Navy had improved tremendously.
This was against the backdrop of protecting over 19trillion National Assets on the sea to the dogged fight against piracy that had bedeviled the performance of the Nigerian economic activities to the hands of hoodlums, bandits, criminals and non state actors with some of these groups parading themselves as private security guards attached to day to day manning of national assets , away from their contrived intentions and national sabotage.
Determined to curb sea piracy and bringing the activities of criminal elements to a permanent halt on the sea, Ogalla perfected within the short period a concerted programs and renewed action ,as well as road map to secure a prosperous maritime future for Nigeria , and not a platform for criminally minded elements and their collaborators.
Worried by the growing insecurities across the sea and the militation and connivance among personel, Ogalla within 100 days at the top echelon of the Navy rolled out a concerted policy and actions that addressed wholistically to revert not only legitimate economic activities across the sea, but relive Nigeria’s economic potentials through it.
Ogalla laid a solid foundation with training and retraining at both local and international sphere as the main policy thrust of the new Navy, in line with it’s statutory functions and obligations.
The Navy in the last few months had undergone joint and inter agency trainings, that had improved capacity building in the Navy with local and international collaborations.
Having prioritized trainings among all strata of men and officers of the Navy, it was glaring and displayed the readiness of the Navy to tackle non state actors and economic saboteurs of all shades to a permanent halt.
Aside trainings, the wholistic and massive orientation and reorientation of the Navy with unrepentant policy of “Zero Tolerance for COT” had attracted alot of success story few months at the mantle of leadership of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla.
In it’s strides of not only protecting National Assets, but deploying them for economic incentives, the Navy had within the short period of this year , discovered 700 illegal refineries operating without interruption over the years in the country, confiscated 803 barrels stolen crude worth billions of naira with the arrest of about 234 oil thieves across the country.
The Nigeria Navy also move ahead with the interception of 5 barges, 690 boats and 116 speed boats been used by criminal elements to pilfer the economic assets of the country with the arrests of 232 suspects.
The inclusion of 82 operational vehicles by oil thieves and sea pirates, 32 trucks, with 800 barrels of crude oil costing about 105B from the oil criminals.
This was in addition to the confiscation of already refined products ranging from AGO , DPK and PMS totalling over 46M litres, 2M litres of DPK and 438 litres of PMS from the dissidents on the high sea.
Ogalla had move beyond it’s statutory obligations of reducing to the barest minimum the incidence of high sea thefts, to drug related crimes through the arrest and handing over of culprits of cannabis sativa of about 692 kilograms worth 1.3B within few months in office, as this is capable of discouraging drug pushers using the high sea as a new area of perpetrating their drug business.
Less than a year at the mantle of leadership of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, no doubt the slogan of a new Naval foundation had been laid to consolidate the ongoing reforms of the Nigeria sailors to position it both for it’s statutory functions and national assignments, to forestall both local and international encroachments.
With the current success story, it is glaring that in the coming years, the Navy will be rejigged not only to forestall economic saboteurs, but redoubled and improved economic activities predominantly on the high sea of the country.
YUSUF, A Public Affairs Analyst writes in from Abuja,can be reached on [email protected].