The Nigerian Navy says more than 150 illegal refineries have been closed down in NNS Pathfinder and Jubilee area of operations at the Eastern Naval Command.
Outcome Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, Rear Admiral Mathew Emuekpere disclosed this shortly after a parade held in his honour at the NNS Victory ground, Calabar, Cross River State.
Rear Admiral Emuekpere said, “To a great extent, we have successfully dealt with maritime challenges such as illegal bunkering, crude oil theft, smuggling, human trafficking, piracy and sea robbery in the three littoral Sates of Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers.
“The command has been able to shut down over 150 illegal refineries through swamp boogie operations, arrested over 90 suspects with their vessels for various maritime crimes.”
He further stated “through our anti-smuggling operations, the Command seized 13,803 bags of imported rice valued at 220 million, 848 thousand Naira and other contraband”.
According to him, the Command has contributed to the efforts of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in revamping the economy and enhancing the activities of local farmers.
In the area of welfare, Emuekpere hinted that personnel have their living quarters rehabilitated, new accommodations built and physical security enhanced across all units and formations within the command.
Rear Admiral Emuekpere expressed appreciation to officers and ratings for the support given him to succeed and urged them to accord the new FOC the same cooperation.
He further commended the host community and their traditional leaders for sustaining cordiality with the Nigerian Navy.
After the exchange of flag, the new Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral David Adeniran assured his predecessor of completing all ongoing projects, soliciting for the unalloyed support of all officers, ratings, host community and entire civilian population to succeed.
Adeniran noted that the navy will continue to partner with other security agencies to deliver on its mandate, which is to curb all forms of illegalities.
“The navy would not tolerate any form of compromise in the fight against maritime crime. We are not to be involved in any form of politicking and we must avoid all social media postings and comments. Leave that to those whose job it is to do so”.
“I also urged our host communities, our chiefs and all stakeholders to cooperate with the navy to keep our maritime domain safe and secure,” he warned.