From Ben Dunno, Warri
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas said the newly acquired warships commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos two weeks ago have been deployed in the troubled Niger Delta region.
Speaking to newsmen during the 2016 Nigerian Navy Ball, also known as Navy End of Year Party, organised for naval personnel at the Nigerian Navy Ship Delta, Warri, Ibas said the Navy had identified areas where the ships would be useful and had deployed them accordingly.
Ibas, who was represented by the Flag Officer Commanding, Navy Logistic Command, Oghara, Rear Admiral Enyinna Ibe-Enwo, said the ships have commenced operations at the various strategic locations where they are considered useful to the economy.
“Those ships have since been deployed to strategic locations immediately after the president and Commander-in-Chief commissioned them and are being handled by trained personnel who have gone through rigorous training on how to operate them professionally.
“They are already sailing and are in perfect conditions where they have been deployed,” he said.
He also said the Navy had concluded plans to adopt a transfer exercise where personnel could spend at least five years within a command as a way of encouraging family bonding in the force.
He explained that the policy would further enhance the operational efficiency of its personnel.
He stated that the initiative known as ‘Mother Base Concept’, would enable naval personnel move with their families to their posting and spend at least five years before being redeployed to another command.
“The five years drafting appointment circle for the Navy personnel, which comprises officers and ratings, is essential to reduce incidence of family staying apart. We have realised in recent times that frequent movement of officers and men from one location to another in meeting with the requirement of the service, dislocate their families.
“We are working on a model whereby the officers or personnel are at a particular location to serve for at least five years. Within that time, we expect the officers to be familiar within that unit in that location. Family will enjoy better time among themselves, of course, the children and all the rest, such that when they are transferred to another location, they will have reasonable long time to stay with their families.”
Commending its personnel for winning the war against sea piracy, oil theft and vandalism, particularly in the Niger Delta, Ibas stressed that the service had improved and emerged one of the major naval forces in African.
Calling for more discipline among officers in the discharge of their duties, he added: “To sustain the collaborative effort in the sub-region, the Nigerian Navy must improve on its fighting capability and operational effectiveness.
“In this wise, when I came on board as Chief of Naval Staff, I promulgated a Strategic Directive 2015-1, outlining concrete steps that would help drive my vision of developing a credible naval power towards enhancing national prosperity and security.
“You realise that security issues are not ending, but I can tell you, from statistics, there is a remarkable improvement. We are not yet there, but we are hoping to get there soon and this entails not just the military report, but also the public also supporting the Navy with information to wrestle to a logical conclusion.”
A former acting governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Nestor Binabo, who was special guest of honour at the ceremony, commended the Nigerian Navy for ensuring that there was increased security of life and property in the region.
He appealed to the people of the region to cooperate with naval personnel for an enhanced security of national assets.
Binabo said the country’s economy would remain unstable if the continued attacks on oil facilities were not curtained through an all-inclusive collaboration between the people and security agencies.
“Until national assets in this region (Niger Delta) are protected, we cannot have a stable economy in Nigeria’, he declared.
It is imperative for our people to assist the security agencies to ensure these facilities are kept from the reach of vandals.
“The security agents cannot do much without the support of our people. We must stop oil theft, sea piracy and vandalism together,” the former governor noted. (The Sun)