The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, on Tuesday in Abuja met with key stakeholders to push for collective action to secure the Nigerian maritime environment.
Ogalla said this was necessary to tackle oil theft, boost crude oil production and for other businesses to thrive, thereby enhancing the nation’s economic prosperity and development.
He said the navy had increased the level of policing of the maritime area and would welcome the support of the key stakeholders to make the maritime environment more safer.
“Our collective effort, therefore, is required to create an environment conducive for increased production and economic activities.
“For that reason, the Nigerian Navy has deemed it necessary to call this meeting to discuss with the stakeholders.
“This is part of our approach to national security, which is in line with the modern concept of security, because we see security from the whole of society approach.
“We recognise that the military alone cannot do it and for us to achieve the desired objective, we must have all the stakeholders involved,’’ he said.
Ogalla said that in spite of the steady decline in the rate of maritime crimes and significant rise in oil production recently, Nigeria has not been able to meet its OPEC production quota.
This, according to him, has affected the revenue that the country should generate to solve its social and economic challenges.
“This meeting, therefore, is one of the regular engagements with the navy aimed at fostering a common understanding and synergy and trust among maritime stakeholders.
“It will focus on addressing personal concerns affecting your businesses or operations.
“We shall also look at pertinent areas of improving our working relationships so that we can benefit optimally from the resources in the maritime domain.”
In his speech, the Navy’s Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Adm. Joseph Akpan, said the meeting was aimed at reviewing the navy’s operations, procedures and outcomes, so as to identify areas that require adjustments for better performance.
He also said the meeting was to foster understanding, collaboration and set new standards to stabilise the maritime environment.
Akpan urged the stakeholders to contribute freely to the discussions, adding that “it should be a no holds barred discussion.”
“Because we really want to interact with you and get to the root of matters that are evolving, so that we can have better operations in the maritime space,’’ he added.
Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, Executive Vice President, Downstream, NNPCL, Mr Dapo Segun, said the meeting would help to reinforce collaboration towards safer maritime domain.
He therefore urged that the discussions should be candid about the challenges and opportunities in the Nigerian maritime environment, including the vandalism of oil pipelines.