Navy to Establish Two New Operational Bases in C’River
By Bassey Inyang
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice-Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, has stated that the Nigerian Navy will soon establish two additional operational bases in Cross River State.
Gambo, who made the disclosure in Calabar, the state capital, on Thursday said one of the bases would be an outpost at Ikang, and the other, a naval security station, at Dayspring Island.
The proposed bases are both located in the Bakassi Local Government Area of the state which shares maritime boundary with the Republic of Cameroon.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the state Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Calabar, Vice-Admiral Gambo explained that the move has become necessary “because we are aware of the security situation in the state — cultists, kidnappers and other criminal elements — and to that effect, it has been part of our strategic plan and I think it is expedient that we speedily establish outpost and security stations in these locations so that we can improve our security architecture in the state and of course, secure our borders and around the Republic of Cameroon”.
Assuring the governor of the Navy’s commitment to the security of the state nay Nigeria, the Naval boss said: “We have to keep our eyes open and to ensure that Cross River State and Nigeria at large is secured from that angle.
“We want to reassure you of the availability of the Nigerian Navy. We are at your service to ensure that Cross River State and her good people are safe and secured for economic prosperity and development.
“I want to inform you, Your Excellency, of the ongoing general operations in the creeks around the state to ensure we rid it of all criminal elements; the cultists, the kidnappers and all that to make sure it is safe for maritime business to thrive since Cross River is a littoral state.
“In that regard, we are also collaborating with other agencies — the Army, the Air Force and of course, the police and other security agencies — in the state to ensure that the waterways are safe and secure for the prosperity of the good people of Cross River State.”
Gambo, who said he was on an operational and administrative visit to Cross River, expressed optimism that the Naval War College being built in Calabar will be ready for commissioning next year.
In his remarks, Ayade commended the Navy for its security efforts in Cross River so far, which according to him, have “kept us out of the way of harm particularly knowing the complex nature of Cross River’s location vis a vis maritime security challenges.
“Very recently, NNS Victory had undertaken several operations and I want to thank NNS Victory for their efforts in clearing out those bad boys from the creeks. Indeed, that has helped,” Ayade said.
The governor thanked the Naval Chief for the proposed Naval operational bases at Ikang and Dayspring Island, describing the development as deft moves to secure people of the area from criminal elements.
He however pleaded with the Navy to also establish a base around Esighi where the Bakassi Deep Seaport project is sited.
He said: “We will need a strong naval presence; we will need a naval patrol across the entire length and breadth of our maritime domain.”
He pledged to sign the Certificate of Occupancy for the ongoing construction of Naval facilities in Calabar as pleaded by the Naval Chief.