Fubara to Navy, be firm in stopping oil theft on nation’s waterways

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State, has encouraged the Nigerian Navy to be firm in the fight against all forms of economic sabotage, particularly crude oil theft, on the nation’s waterways.

The governor noted with delight the positive results already recorded by the Navy in the State due largely to the tremendous support it has received from his administration.

Governor Fubara spoke on Thursday, when he hosted on courtesy visit, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla with his delegation of top officers of Navy High Command at Government House in Port Harcourt.

The governor stated that Nigeria was facing myriad of crises, including economic challenges, rising insecurity and criminal activities that threaten the national economy, which should not be overlooked.

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, with his delegation of top officers of Navy High Command at Government House in Port Harcourt.

He said: “We are working together, we will give you all the support to make sure that you deliver on your mandate.

“And what is the mandate? You were appointed at a time when our country is facing a lot of crises, and your duty, among others, include to reduce, if it cannot be eliminated completely, the criminalities perpetrated on the waterways; oil theft and others.

“And I am happy that they are positive and commendable records of achievement so far, in the course of your tenure.”

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Fubara said the good news of reduced level of oil theft in Rivers State is evidence of the many positive things that are happening in the State beyond the much hyped negativity, and assured that such positive achievements will be sustained.

He insisted: “The success of the Nigerian Navy in our State, in the areas of curbing oil theft, is because the state government has given you all the necessary support.

“We have collaborated with the command here. We supported them morally, and with all the necessary logistics.

“We have also maintained good relationship with the communities to make sure that whatever it is that is required for these operations to be successful were granted. I am happy to be associated with these very laudable achievements.”

The governor “So, I have to say that I am happy that the Chief of Naval Staff, today, is commending the success of the exercise.

“He is commending the doggedness of the men in fighting oil theft, not just in the Niger Delta, but particularly in our State.

“I want to assure you that we will continue to give them the support, and discourage any act that would be a sabotage to the economy of our state.”

Further, he said: “Rivers State was not named in error. There are several water channels that can boost the operations of the Navy. This is why we are requesting that the Nigerian Navy move all its bases to the State.

“It was not a mistake they called it Rivers State. It is surrounded with all forms of rivers. You want the Atlantic region, you can get it here.

“You want those small creeks, you can also get it here. Maybe, if you want an Island, you can also find it here.

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“So, it is proper if we work with you and you have all that is required within this geographic region, to have all your bases relocated to Rivers State,” he said.

Further, he said: “We must continue to give you the necessary support to make sure that you succeed. I am happy to also say that, as the governor of the State by the special grace of God, we are still here, not minding the dramas here and there. We will not let our people down in ensuring that we protect their interest.

“We will support the genuine course of governance; the protection of lives and provision of basic amenities. And these can only be achieved when there is a peaceful environment.

“And the peaceful environment can only come when there is a collaboration with security agencies to prevent crimes, and protect lives and property of residents.”

In his address, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, reiterated that the Nigerian Navy and Rivers State are like conjoined twins who cannot do without each other.

This is because, he said, they needed collaboration on various aspects of their activities ranging from training, operations, logistics, adding that Rivers State is key to their performance.

“My purpose of coming here today are three folds. The first is to inform His Excellency that on Saturday, we are graduating a set of former civilians who have been trained at our Basic Training School, Onne, and are graduating to join the ranks of the Nigerian Navy as ratings in order to beef up our strength.

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“The second reason is to first appreciate the governor and the entire Rivers State Government for the schools they donated to us, the Ambassador Nne Krukrubo Model Secondary School at Eleme in Eleme Local Government Area, and the Model Secondary School, Egbelu in Oyigbo Local Government Area.”

Vice Admiral Ogalla said: “We also want to use this opportunity to inform His Excellency that following that donation, and based on our strategic plan of moving our facilities to areas where we have enough space to be able to carryout our duties, we have renovated the school at Eleme.

“We are happy to report, today, that the erstwhile location of Headquarters of Naval Training Command, Lagos, is moving to that particular school location in Eleme, tomorrow.”

Speaking on the operational successes recorded thus far, he said that propelled by the charge given to them by President Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian Navy, under his watch, has impounded 14 vessels caught to be conveying stolen crude oil and several other individuals arrested, adding that investigations into their culpability were ongoing.

“I am here today to report Sir, that, with the “Operation Delta Sanity”, launched in January, 2024, we have been very successful, and within the period, we have recorded tremendous successes and achievements.

“Over 14 large crude carrying vessels have been arrested within that period. Most of them are at various levels of investigation. We have also arrested several barges and other companies and organizations that are involved in oil theft.

“As a result of the operations, we are happy to report that there have been tremendous improvement in terms of security in the maritime environment,” Ogalla added.

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