The Central Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy has said it will not spare anyone caught engaging in criminal activities within the Niger Delta waterways.
Sounding the note of warning on Wednesday, during an inspection tour of the facilities under the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta in Warri, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Rear Admiral Saidu Garba, also cited reasons for the decrease in crude oil theft and illegal oil refining in the area.
Garba, who was conducted around the facilities by the Commander of the NNS Delta, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, noted that society would always have its share of bad eggs, but advised those engaging in illegal and criminal activities within the Delta rivers to turn a new leave and seek other legal and peaceful means of livelihood.
He warned that anyone nabbed in criminality in the waterways would be made to face the law.
“We are advising them to engage in productive ventures that will enable them to make clean money that will allow them to live peacefully because these criminals are unable to enjoy whatever illicit gains they make through criminality because they still have to be living in hiding.
“They should come out, engage in productive and legal ventures because anyone we apprehend breaking the law will certainly face the law,” he warned.
Giving reasons why incidences of oil theft and illegal oil refining had reduced in the Central Naval Command’s area of responsibility, Garba said three major security strategies had been useful in containing the area.
“As you know, crude oil theft and other such criminal activities have reduced as a result of a number of measures put in place, one of which is the permanent operation at sea, which is called Operation Tsare-Teku. Tsare-Teku maintains a number of vessels at sea at all times.
“The second one is the Swamp bogey operation, whereby we go around demolishing all illegal infrastructures that have been put in place for illegal oil production.
“The third one is the choke-point regime, in which we have our house-boats at strategic points within the inner waterways, which are the backwaters, ensuring there are no illegal movements of any kind of illegally produced products in that general area.
“We’ve been able to sustain these three and with them, we have been able to curtail the flow of illicit oil activities in our area of responsibility.”
The Naval chief said he was in Warri as part of the familiarisation tour of the bases under his command, giving a high recommendation to the NNS Delta, which he described as the most critical security outfit to Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.
“I have gone round and I have seen that the personnel are ready, ships are ready to go to sea and some are already at sea, guarding the activities of well-meaning users of the seas and also ensuring that criminals engaged in any unlawful activities are arrested and brought to justice,” he said.