Rear Admiral Obono Ekwe (Rtd), has commended the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) of the Nigerian Navy for maintaining a steady presence at sea thereby ensuring maritime security and economic prosperity.
Ekwe said the command under the leadership of the Flag Officer Commanding ENC, Rear Adm. David Adeniran, had recorded successes in the reduction of illegal bunkers and refinery operations, oil theft, pipeline vandalism, smuggling and piracy.
Ekwe, who was the special guest of honour, gave the commendation in Calabar during the Ceremonial Sunset as part of the activities to mark the 64th anniversary of the Nigerian Navy.
According to Ekwe, the efforts of the ENC had led to the arrest of numerous vessels and the seizure of petroleum products as well as metric tons of crude oil.
He added that the command had also destroyed illegal refineries to dissuade illegalities in the maritime sector.
“The ENC has performed excellently well. Therefore, I encourage all personnel to keep it up and have an operational reflection and ponder on the operational antecedents recorded so far as well as challenges faced by the command in the past in order to proffer the way forward,” he said.
He explained that the “Ceremonial Sunset”, also known as the “Retreat Call”, is a solemn ceremony which involves the bugle call as well as hoisting and lowering of flags which signal the end of a day and beginning of a new day.
Retired Admiral Ekwe noted that series of activities were lined up to celebrate the Navy week which include distribution of palliatives and personnel protective equipment as well as commissioning of sickbay at the Headquarters of ENC.
“I am also aware that other activities that marked the Navy week were the commissioning of the remodeled Otiko and Saidu Girls’ Hostel at Nigerian Navy secondary school, Borokiri, and 20 capacity Boys’ hostel in Nigerian Navy secondary school Akpabuyo.
“Over the years, I have closely monitored the activities of the ENC under Rear Adm. Adeniran and I discovered that the command has conducted various operations and administrative functions.
“Ceremonial Sunset is usually elaborate, but this year’s celebration is distinct and low keyed due to the global pandemic.
“I have observed with joy, the number of attendees as well as the number of Guard of Honour and Navy band that participated in the skeletal parade. All these are in conformity with the Federal Government directives on measures to curb Covid-19 pandemic”, he said.
In his goodwill message, Real Adm. Taiye Imam, the Chief Staff Officer of ENC, said the ceremony was part of the activities marking the 64th anniversary of the Nigerian Navy
Imam commended the FOC for keeping the flag flying and for making the ENC the most operational command in the Nigerian Navy.
“I want to specially thank the FOC for all the support he has given us the officers, the ratings and civilian staff of the ENC”, he said.