The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, has reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Navy to stamp out the menace of oil theft and other crimes in the nation’s maritime domain.
Ogalla reiterated this at the opening of the CNS 2023 Retreat with Principal Staff Officers, Flag Officers Commanding and Commanders, on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that naval personnel and the service were duty bound to reverse the impression in terms of securing the maritime domain and stamping out oil theft in Nigeria.
“I therefore want to make this clear that under my watch there is zero tolerance for oil theft. Any officer or rating or any person who is found to be involved in oil theft will be punished to the full extent of the law.
“We will not fear anyone. I expect you to go back and educate your officers and ratings about the menace of oil theft.
“The government looks up to us to lead the fires and we have no option but to do just that,” he said.
He said that in view of this, the navy must work together with sister services, the armed forces, the police and other military and security agencies to stamp out the measures of all attempts.
According to him, Nigerians expect the navy to remain above reproach, above board and to remain law-abiding as a force they can admire and rely upon.
The CNS said that the event was an opportunity for participants to interact and evaluate the state of affairs in the navy.
He said this was with regards to tackling the security challenges that had been having devastating impacts on the country and undermining its national security and development.
He explained that President Bola Tinubu had given them marching orders to deal decisively with all security challenges facing the country.
He added that the event was in line with the president’s directive and his vision statement.
The vision statement he said is: “to have a highly motivated professional naval force capable of shaping the security outcomes within Nigeria’s maritime domain and the littorals including land-based engagements in fulfilment of Nigeria’s national interest”.
He also said his mission statement is: “to Maintain and equip a professional competent and ethical naval force while leveraging on all elements of national power for the effective defence of Nigeria’s maritime area of interest against all forms of threat in fulfilment of national security imperatives”.
“I gave my Command Philosophy which is anchored on leading with integrity, courage and relentless pursuit for excellence in consonance with the core values of the Nigerian navy.
“My Strategic End-state is the attainment of a safe and secured maritime environment in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea to enable wealth creation, economic prosperity as well as national security, growth and development.
“In tandem with this, I have issued the Chief of the Naval Staff, Strategic Directive 2023–6 which highlights the expected deliverables along the 9 Lines of Development (LoDs) of the Nigerian Navy Strategic Plan (NNSP) 2021 -2030.
“It is imperative that all of you immediately key into the vision so that together, we can take the NN to greater heights,” he said.
Ogalla said the navy had in the past few years, achieved significant milestones in operations, fleet recapitalisation, infrastructure and human resource managements as part of a comprehensive transformation plan articulated to guide the service in the discharge of its constitutional mandate.
He said that the navy had taken steps to be innovative in its approaches with the evolving nature of threats in the nation’s maritime domain.
According to the CNS, the navy under his watch is determined to rebuild the conceptual, moral and physical components of its fighting power.
“My top priorities, therefore, would be to diligently implement the provisions of the NNSP 2021 -2030.
“Let me, however, mention that while no effort will be spared in achieving these goals, it is command responsibility to ensure the sustenance and maintenance of all facilities, equipment and platforms.
“To set a clear direction and build momentum, we identified some quick impact projects and conceptual initiatives that would be completed and commissioned within my First 100 days in office,” he said.
He urged commanders to uphold discipline in their commands, be role models to their officers and men, set high standards of conduct and enforce the rules fairly and consistently.
He also directed them to enhance Civil-Military Cooperation and relations with civilians in their areas of operation, noting that the people should see them as partners to be able to support their efforts and cooperate with them.
Ogalla dismissed the allegation that naval personnel were involved in oil theft, assuring that the service would not spare any personnel found wanting or culpable in the crime.
He also charged commanders to be mindful of the welfare of those under them, saying that prioritising the welfare of their subordinates is essential to mission success.
He pledged to provide opportunities for job satisfaction and self-actualisation as well as recognise and reward hard work and dedication.
He added that issues relating to personnel accommodation, uniform items and appointment/draft cycle were already receiving attention.
In his remarks, the Chief of Policy and Plans (Navy), Rear Adm. Joseph Akpan, said the retreat would afford them the opportunity to review the threat environment and their operations, with a view to identifying gaps that could be addressed for better performance.
Akpan expressed hope that the discussions would be incisive, innovative and provocative with a view to have frank discussions about what is working and what is not.
He thanked the CNS for his focused and visionary leadership and assured him that the officers are committed to upholding the highest standard of ethics and integrity.