The Western Naval Command (WNC) on Thursday in Lagos said that it would continue to be dedicated in the performance of its constitutional duties to the country in 2020 and beyond.
Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, made the promise at the command’s end of the year programme last week.
He said that the command would double its efforts in protecting the nation’s territorial waters in 2020 and beyond.
The FOC appreciated the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) and the Chief of Defence Staff for their supports to the command over the years.
He urged the officers from the command not to relent in their good works so that they could achieve the deliverables in the CNS strategic directives.
“I will like to thank the CDS, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin and the CNS, Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, for their unflinching supports to the Western Naval Command.
“I hereby pledge our continued dedication to duty and unalloyed loyalty as we discharge our constitutional roles to our country.’’
Ibas addressing his officers and men said, “ In the coming year, I urge you to double your efforts and continue the good works in order to achieve the deliverables in the CNS Strategic Directives.”
The FOC commenting on the command’s achievements in 2019, said that it did not do badly though it was not where it should be.
“ I thank the almighty God for his grace over the command in the last 12 months in our efforts to protect the territorial integrity and the Nigerian water ways under the WNC Area of Responsibility (AOR).
“We also thank God for providing the enabling environment for maritime economic activities to thrive in the country.
“The achievements recorded so far have been, largely, due to the painstaking efforts and dedication of the officers, ratings and civilian staff of WNC; even in the face of daunting challenges,” he said.
Daji said that the command successfully deployed ships, boats, helicopters and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) assets to tackle maritime crimes.
“The command was able to combat maritime crimes such as illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, smuggling and other sundry crimes without recording any major mishaps or accidents.”
He said that the command’s relentless patrols led to the arrest of no fewer than 80 suspects, seizures of contraband items and destruction of illegal fuel storage facilities on Atlas Cove Island.
“These efforts have reduced to the minimum illegal activities within the Western Naval Command Area of Responsibility.
“In specific terms, the command arrested 10 merchant vessels for various offences.
“It also seized over 150,000 jerry cans containing over 3 million litres of petrol and over 40,000 litres of AGO valued at about N551,750,000,” he said.
Daji said that the increased presence of naval platforms at sea was achieved through a series of initiatives, especially, the timely provision of logistics by the Navy headquarters.
“Patrols by the capital ships were also augmented by regular deployment of boats to identified black spots to ensure security of the backwaters.
“These measures, coupled with the use of the MDA facilities and helicopters for surveillance, enabled the command to effectively checkmate illegal activities along the creeks and the waterways to deter criminal elements,” he said.
He said that the command was actively involved in all exercises initiated by the Naval Headquarters including joint and combined exercises with sister services and foreign navies and coast guards in 2019.
Daji said that the command also participated in IS operations such as Op MESA and Op AWATSE in Lagos State and in parts of Ogun as well as OP FAST STRIKE FORCE in Ondo State.
Seven officers, and 130 naval ratings took part in the parade which was part of the activities to mark the end of the year programme.