Suppression Of Maritime Crimes: Hallmark Of My Tenure As FOC West —Admiral Daji

The outgone Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, has listed the significant contributions that were recorded during his tenure.

Oladele Daji Rear Admiral

Daji said this during the recent handing and taking over ceremony of the FOC, Western Naval Command held at the headquarters of the Western Naval Command, Apapa, Lagos State.

Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa is the new FOC of the command.

Daji said that upon assumption of the command in 2019, his team formulated strategies that would guide the maritime base resources and assets as well as enhance safety of the nation’s sea means of communication.

“This is considered germane toward promoting shipping and other legitimate uses of the sea and waterways within the Command’s maritime area of responsibilities.

“Accordingly, we engaged and sort the cooperation of relevant stakeholders in the maritime sectors and other security agencies.

“This was with a view to synergising our efforts at enhancing security of the sea lanes, the anchorages, and channels within the command’s maritime area of responsibility,” he said.

The admiral said that the strategy paid off and gave impetus to the command’s operational successes.

Daji said that his team ensured the operational availability of capital ships and boats as well as helicopters for patrols, interjections and credible deterrent presence in the command’s maritime domain.

“We enforced the planned maintenance system in concert with the field support group: the West and Logistics Commands of the Nigerian Navy.

“The strategy encompasses the motivation of technical personnel, local sourcing of space and training amongst other initiatives.

“Consequently, ships like Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Prosperity and NNS Ekun which were hitherto alongside the Jetty were revived and had since joined the league of operational vessels,” he said.

The admiral said that they developed measures and initiatives to deny pirates and sea robbers the freedom of action to operate with impunity to attack ships at sea and in the back waters.

“Accordingly, over 250 raids and clearance operations were conducted to neutralise pirate camps and criminal hideouts in coastal communities and settlements across the commands area of responsibility.

“At least, 10 arrested pirates are now facing justice at the Federal High Court, Lagos, charged under the Suppression of Piracy Act.

“Furthermore, it is on record that of the three piracy attacks on ships within the commands area of responsibility within the last two years, two were unsuccessful,” he said.

Daji said that 33 ships were arrested for various infrigements including those engaged in illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, smuggling and illegal fishing amongst others.

“They have been handed over to the relevant prosecution agencies.

“The arrests were made possible through greater integration of our maritime domain awareness facilities, actionable intelligence provided by ours and other security sister agencies and sustained presence of naval platforms at sea.

“Nigeria Navy ships and boats were at sea for over 15 hours during the period,” he said.

The admiral said that the Atlas Cove and Takwa Bay which used to be havens for pipeline vandals and criminal syndicates were sanitised.

“This resulted to significantly fewer disruptions to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) bunkery operations within that axis.

“Clearance operations resulted in seizures of jerricans worth about N120million and recovery of petroleum products worth about N630 million.

“Furthermore, several acts of vandalism which can cost the nation at least N1.6billion were foiled by the combined efforts of Operation AWASE, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Department of State Services (DSS) and other operating agencies,” he said.

Daji said that the naval headquarters had approved the establishment of Forward Operation Base at Takwa Bay which would be inaugurated soon to sustain the gains of the clearance operations.