By Chiemelie Ezeobi
The Nigerian maritime frontiers is beset with a number of challenges. The vices on the high seas, which have necessitated the war against maritime illegalities are legion. Some of these include piracy, sea robbery, smuggling, poaching, illegal bunkering, illegal unregulated and unreported fishing, crude oil theft, drug and human trafficking and maritime terrorism. The daily perpetration of these crimes merely suggest that the war against them is far from being over.
Besides other prevailing illegalities, the authorities also battle other daunting challenges of protecting offshore oil installations and facilities as well as combating seaborne insurgency and environmental degradation. The Nigerian Navy (NN) as part of its unrelenting quest to curb these vices have in times past been engaged in different exercises including African Winds, Operation Obangame, Operation Farautau and Operation Prosperity, amongst others.
However, despite these exercises and operations, some of these illegalities continue to thrive, thereby prompting the NN to look beyond and within in finding lasting solutions.
Therefore, as part of the Strategic Guidance 01 of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba charted the course to build optimal capacity amongst personnel as one of the ways to curb maritime illegalities.
According to Ezeoba's calculations, the SG 01 which was broken into three key parts; strategic direction, capacity-building-project deliverables and critical operational objectives, would go a long way in finding a lasting solution to the challenges that has bedeviled the maritime sector for years.
The document reads in part, “Piracy and other forms of illicit activities that have led to loss in revenue in billions of dollars. Therefore, given the nation’s dependence on hydrocarbon exploitation and shipping activities for economic survival, the attainment of the objectives of the National Vision 20:2020 and the Transformation Agenda are significantly hinged on progressive operational efficiency of the NN.
"The emplacement of a robust and combat ready fleet is considered a fundamental pivot for the NN to achieve its mission, which is to discharge its constitutional roles and assigned tasks in a professional and efficient manner, consistent with global best practices for the defence and protection of Nigeria's territorial integrity."
Therefore as part of his operational objectives, lies in robust policing functions (estate management of the sea) anchored on combating all acts of illegalities in our maritime domain such as crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, IUU Fishing, piracy and sea robbery amongst others. More....