Navy commissions projects to boost security on Nigeria’s waterways
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, said the move became necessary in view of the increasing business activities along that route and the need to make the river more navigable for commerce to thrive.
The commissioned infrastructure include an administrative block, armoury, electrification project as well as a commanding officer institutional house. The rest were officers, senior rates and junior rates’ quarters, a comprehensive water treatment plant, a 33KVA transformer and a 250KVA generator.
Ibas, who was assisted at the event by Governor Willie Obiano, said the facility was considered after a careful evaluation of the security imperatives of the operational area.
He recalled that the Federal Government commenced the dredging of River Niger from Lokoja to Onitsha/Asaba in 2009, saying the project was bringing along new security challenges.
Ibas said: “Additionally, the proposed establishment of strategic infrastructure such as the Green Field Oil Refinery at Itobe, the Inland Water Ports at Lokoja and Onitsha is anticipated to increase marine traffic from Warri to Ajaokuta Steel Company with envisaged great stimulus to commercial activities.
“This appreciation necessitated the establishment of naval presence in the area to curb the envisaged criminal activities and free the largely water-dominated environment for legitimate use.”
According to him, since the establishment of the outpost in 2010, it had been operating from a rented accommodation, thus making it vulnerable.He added that the urgent requirement to address such significant deficit and drawback pushed the force to prioritise the development of the unit amid its acute financial constraint.
Ibas said the project would provide a conducive working environment for personnel and engender greater operational effectiveness, just as the naval chief appealed to the state government to assist in the area of perimeter fencing, road network, drainage and erosion control.
He commended the federal and state governments for providing land, gunboats and patrol vehicles.The Flag Officer Commanding |(FOC), Central Naval Command, Yenagoa, Rear Admiral, Mohammed Garba, stressed that the projects were part of the force’s commitment towards making its personnel comfortable in the commercial city.