A former Commandant of the Navy War College, Rear Admiral Murtala Bashir (rtd.), says the Nigerian Navy’s onslaught against oil thieves saved the nation 91,725.26 barrels of crude in 2023.
Bashir made the disclosure in a paper he presentated at the inauguration of the Naval Warfare Course 8 in Calabar on Monday.
He spoke on the topic, “Operational Level Warfare: Imperatives for Training and Command in the Nigerian Navy”.
He said that this was against 889,890 barrels that were saved from thieves between January and December 2022.
According to Bashir, the economic saboteurs were also denied of 513,350 litres of Kerosene in 2023 alone.
He further said that 351 illegal refining sites, 630 storage tanks and 315 wooden boats were deactivated within the same period.
He said that 78 suspects, 35 vessels and 13 trucks were arrested between January and December 2023.
While commending the Navy for the feat, he said that more action was needed to reduce the activities of oil thieves to the barest level.
“The aforementioned achievements and others were possible because most operational level commanders displayed sterling personal qualities, such as diligence, commitment, courage, knowledge, foresight, ability to take risks, ability to delegate authority and respect for subordinates, among others,” he said.
Bashir also commended the Navy for delisting the country from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) list of High Risk Countries.
“For so many years, Nigeria’s Maritime area was plagued by piracy with the area regarded as a High Risk Area, alongside the gulf of Aden and other notorious areas by the IMO.
“It is noteworthy to say that the Flag Officer Commanding of the operational commands doubled his efforts by being proactive.
“They invested more in intelligence and collaborating with other stakeholders, which led to the coordinated and sustained operations in their individual area of responsibilities with occasional overlaps.
“Many of the pirates were arrested ashore, either while planning their operations or when they returned after operations,” he said.
Bashir called for the optimisation of the operational level of Naval Warfare Training for the service to produce professional officers that would adequately translate strategic directives into precise tactical actions.
“The officers will also be apolitical and more responsive to national security priorities.
“They will be more efficient in the alignment and use of resources, uphold the law and respect human rights, thereby earning public trust, respect and confidence,” Bashir said.