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Ibas warns naval officers against oil theft, others




“ACTIVITIES of oil thieves on the high sea and corruption will have no place in my watch,” the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, has warned officers and ratings.

Ibas, who spoke in Lagos during his visit to the Western Naval Command and Naval Training Command, said the visit was to clearly raise the red flag on corruption and illicit activities of oil thieves on the high sea, adding that any personnel indicted would face the “music.”

“We have a constitution that empowers us to defend our maritime domain. We are also to support other agencies to defend the nation and the constitution,” he said. “The wealth of Nigeria is located out there at the high sea and the country has entrusted it to us to protect.

“There is a connection between democracy and the economy – the nation cannot prosper if we fail to do our job, and if there is prosperity, the people would be happy.

“There are two areas our President requires action from us – to bring Nigeria out of insecurity and fight corruption. Any failure in our responsibility will amount to betrayal of trust. “Therefore, we would deploy you from time to time to protect our resources offshore and onshore.”

Ibas further vowed never to be involved in any act that would tarnish the image of the navy and the Federal Government, while urging the entire personnel to be so minded. He stated: “I am throwing my telephone number open to you all so that those of you who want to follow the path of honour can always reach me 24 hours.

“The nation is losing a lot through illegal activities. We have all agreed to tackle crude oil theft and illegal bunkering at sea. I want to commend you all for the progress we have made so far. Within the resources available to me, I will upgrade the facilities in our training schools. We will engage most of our retired colleagues who still have something to offer us as resource persons.”

The naval chief also pledged to tackle the personnel’s accommodation problem, which he noted as “an emergency” and is being addressed, adding: “If we are able to contain the menace at sea, there will be more revenue in our country and if there is more revenue, our allocation would increase.”

More so, he urged the officers to maintain government’s property under their watch, stating: “We should have a rethink on how we handle the equipment handed over to us. We expect those on board ships to maintain them. We must change our attitude in the way we handle government property.”

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