The authorities of the Nigerian Navy have said that the service has arrested a total of 38 ships for engaging in illegal activities in the nation’s territorial waters.
The Chief of Policy and Plans, Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Amin Ikioda, made the comment while addressing journalists on the forthcoming celebration of the 58th Anniversary of the Nigerian Navy in Abuja on Wednesday.
The weeklong celebrations would take place from May 21, 2014 to June 1, 2014.
Ikioda also said that the Navy also arrested and was holding eight Chinese vessels for engaging in illegal fishing activities and others vices this year.
He added that several Navy personnel had been deployed to aid the ongoing military operations in Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Plateau, Nassarawa and Plateau States.
He said that the Navy was intensifying efforts to protect the nation’s maritime domain against any form of threats.
He said that the Navy had been embarking on “surveillance and patrol of the maritime area with available surveillance systems, ships and helicopters.”
He said that the motive of the operation was to check the theft of the nation’s crude oil, illegal bunkering, piracy/sea robbery, and illegal fishing and others.
He said that in spite of the challenges encountered by the Navy, the service had recorded commendable achievements in carrying out it’s statutory responsibility of securing the nation’s maritime domain.
Ikioda added that the joint anti-piracy operation with Benin Republic codenamed ‘Operation Prosperity’ had ensured significant reduction of the threat of piracy and other criminal activities in the maritime border between Nigeria and her francophone neighbour.
Commenting also on claims in some quarters that some top military personnel were involved in illegal oil bunkering in the country, the Navy top shot challenges those making the claim to back it with evidence.
He said that while it was easy to make claims, it was virtually impossible to prove them in Nigeria.
He explained that all those arrested for oil theft, piracy and other illegal activities were usually handed over to the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps for prosecution.