Paul Obi in Abuja
Following the spread of terrorism, insurgency and religious extremism in the Lake Chad Basin, the Nigerian Navy thursday assured that normalcy has already returned to the trouble region, through a combination of forces by the Navy and other military establishments.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral, Ibok-Ete Ibas stated this thursday during press briefing to celebrate the 61st anniversary of the Nigerian Navy.
According to him, normalcy, commercial activities and developments have started picking up in the Lake Chad region, given the policing of the region by the military.
Ibas, who was represented by Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral Henry Babalola explained that the Nigerian Navy â€œuses its boats to patrol the shores of the Lake, stressing that fishery activities that was at zero level by the activities of the Boko Haram insurgency have started yielding positive results.â€
He said: On the Lake itself, there have been very credible development on the Lake. We have cleared the lake, we have our patrol boats in Sate and we are in Sate north, we have men there and they are up to the task and they keep on checking this trend from time to time.
â€œHonestly, the theater commander have attested to the fact that since we inserted personnel on the Lake there have been a lot of remarkable progress.
â€œAs you are aware, the Navy inserted their personnel on the Lake, fishery activities was almost at a zero level because of security concerns there. I can assure you today, that fishery activities have resumed but it has not gotten to the peak of the pre-conflict but I think we have make remarkable difference in the Lake Chad.â€
The Chief of Naval Staff stressed that the Navy had put in place â€œover 150 patrol boats for riverine operations, stressing that they are putting in their best despite the statistics being released by the maritime stakeholders.
He observed that the Nigerian Navy training schools :are being affiliated with tertiary institutions and relevant professional schools for enhanced professionalism and capacity of its personnel, noting that some of its programmes would soon be accredited by the National Universities Commission.
Ibas stated funds have been injected into the university to strengthen its operation, adding that, â€œwe are partnering with an international universities from Cyprus and they have been numerous visits by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for imminent commencement of the university.
â€œWe have corrected virtually all the things they asked us to do. We are expecting the reagent, laboratory and the vice chancellor and other staff quarters are almost ready. But you know it is not within the power of the Navy that we are going to start this thing.
â€œWe must await full accreditation and permission from the NUC before the university in Ibuza takes off. I can assure you we are ready for the Nigerian Naval Maritime University in Ibuza,â€ he said.
Speaking on efforts to curb oil theft in the Niger Delta, Rear Admiral Babalola said the Nigerian Navy, under the leadership of Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, has expedited action in reducing oil theft within the economic zone of the country.
â€œWe are putting in our best and we are not judging ourselves based from the statistics from the maritime stakeholders.
â€œIt is the data they sent to us that we use and for the Navy, we have inserted 150 patrol boats for riverine operations during this period.
â€œOf course, we have seen a remarkable difference and to be very specific, we have achieved a lot. We have started to check brown water illegality going on, illegal refineries, vandalism of pipelines and others and I think we are going somewhere,â€ he added.