As the Nigerian Navy marks 64 years of its formation, the command is highlighting successes recorded over the years in its anti-piracy operations.
At a media briefing held in Abuja to flag-off the ceremonies marking the 64th anniversary, the Nigerian Chief of Navy Staff, CNS, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas represented by Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral Ifeola Mohammed said this year’s anniversary celebration would be low key.
“This year’s anniversary comes at a period when the nation and the world at large are going through trying times as the result of COVID-19 pandemic, hence the decision to have a low-key anniversary to reflect the mood of the world”.
The Chief of Policy and Plans said the COVID-19 Pandemic had necessitated a review of the initial plan for the Anniversary noting that in line with this, the 2020 Nigerian Navy anniversary celebrations would be limited to only few activities to reflect the sober mood in the country.
The Naval chief used the opportunity to extend Nigeria Navy’s condolences to all Nigerians who have lost their loved ones amidst the pandemic.
According to him, the Nigerian Navy has been focusing on capacity development in order to improve maritime security on Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
Maritime threats with significant effects on Nigeria’s maritime environment are piracy/sea robbery, crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, smuggling, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, insurgency amongst others.
In order to combat these threats, the Nigerian Navy adopted the Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy to guide its operational engagements. The strategy is based on a proactive layered response to 5 conflict spectrums characterised by distances to and from the coast.
“Within the last 5 years, the Nigerian Navy conducted and also participated in over 60 exercises and operations”.
“The Nigerian Navy also instituted dedicated operations and initiatives to enhance its policing capacity towards the peaceful use of the nation’s maritime environment”.
According to Rear Admiral Mohammed, these initiatives have recorded successes in the operations of the bases.
For instance, 2016 had the highest piracy attacks recorded in the past 5 years. There were 70 incidences of piracy attacks. Out of these, 51 were successful while 19 were unsuccessful.
Also, in 2017, there were 48 piracy related cases out of which 27 were successful while in 2018, there were 36 reported cases and only 9 successful. In 2019, 21 piracy related cases were reported and only 7 of the attacks were successful. As at 20 May 2020, there were 9 pirate attacks of which only 2 were successful and 7 unsuccessful.
He added that as part of activities to celebrate the 64th Anniversary, all Ships would be dressed in overalls from Monday 25May to Monday 1 June 2020.
The Navy will also distribute palliatives and donate Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) fromThursday 28 to Friday 29May 2020.
Other activities include commissioning of a COVID-19 Isolation Centre in Lagos. Ending the weeklong activity will be the highly modified and restricted ceremonial sunset to hold on Monday, 1st June 2020.