Abuja (Sundiata Post) — The Gulf of Guinea has witnessed a drastic reduction in incidences of piracy attacks following the efforts of the Navy, security officials, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, has disclosed.
He told State House correspondents this, after he briefed President Muhammadu Buhari on security of the maritime environment where naval operations take place in the country.
Buhari had, last Tuesday, met with the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar, on security issues in the country.
Ibas said the meeting was a routine that the service chiefs, including himself brief the Commander-in-Chief from time to time.
“On piracy, the assertion about the Gulf of Guinea being the most notorious Water in this part of the world has been taken seriously. In the last one year, we have in place a dedicated task force there to address this challenge.
“The good news is that we have been there wherever they are, and we have been able to challenge them. Incidences have reduced drastically and we intend to continue to dominate these areas. A lot is being done by the Navy to contain the menace of pirates,” Ibas said.
The Gulf of Guinea is said to be one of the most dangerous for merchant shipping as pirates holds sway attacking and robbing commercial vessels, stealing oil and sometimes abducting crew for ransom.
The Naval Chief said he also briefed the President on the ongoing exercise that the Navy is conducting with other partners within the region and other international partners, aimed at building capacity and intelligence sharing.
He expressed optimism on the increase in economic activities that the security situation in the maritime environment has remained favourable to allow legitimate economic activities to take place.
“The Nigeria’s new maritime strategy sees our activities going just beyond maritime environment. We have been part of the various joint task forces including the Lafiya Dole,” he said.
Ibas recalled that last year the President approved the establishment of an operational base for the Navy in the Lake Chad area to help provide security around the region.
“Lake Chad is a strategic location that provides the transportation means for four nations. The Nigeria Navy’s presence there is to help in consolidating on the security of that area and facilitate economic activities to pick up.
“The presence of the Navy there will help to hasten the development efforts of the community,” he said.
He said the President tasked them to continue to do that, which will enable the country to prosper.