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Nigeria Loses Billions Of Naira As Navy Groans Under Inadequate Patrol Gunboats

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The fight against illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism would continue to suffer a setback in the country with inadequate patrol gunboats and other equipment being used by the Nigerian Navy Ship, THEWILL has learnt.

THEWILL gathered that apart from the NNS Thunder donated to the country recently, no other vessel can sail on the country's territorial water, particularly the high seas.

Reports say Nigeria is losing billions of Naira to illegal fishing by foreign trawlers who sneak into Nigeria's waters and fish, especially at night unhindered as well as illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta as a result of the shortage of Naval platforms to police the country's waterways.

Speaking on this development on Thursday when members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Warri Correspondents Chapel, paid him a courtesy visit in his office, the Commanding Officer of the (NNS Delta), Warri Naval Base, Capt. Musa Gemu, appealed to the Federal Government to assist the Nigerian Navy with adequate platforms to effectively prevent crimes on the country's waterways.

Captain Gemu said the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibril, upon assumption of office in January, promised a zero tolerance on illegal bunkering and other illegalities in the waterways, particularly the Niger Delta creeks.

He said in line with the directive of the CNS, the NNS Delta, under his command, had achieved great feat in the fight against illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism in his areas of responsibilities, adding that provision of more platforms would enable him perform better.

It would be recalled that the NNS Delta had on Monday, handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) 11 oil thieves and their vessel (MT PETROITTI), formerly known as MB VILVOORDER, for further investigation.

Gemu said: ”Immediately I assumed office, I mapped out a military strategy and put plans in place to achieve the CNS's zero tolerance policy on crime and we have achieved greatly.

'We have destroyed over 500 illegal refineries within my short time in office, we have also rescued some expatriates, some we did not display before the press.

”In addition, we demolished at least two Cotonou boats weekly and last week, my men apprehended a vessel carrying about 270,000 metric tons of illegal diesel with 11 suspects who are now at the EFCC custody. We need more ships and gun boats to monitor the activities of the criminals in the creeks, the ships and gun boats we have are old.

Federal Government should assist the CNS by providing him with adequate equipment to enable us fight crime better.

Gemu said lack of information from the host communities was another challenges confronting their operations.

He also appealed to the oil communities to assist the Navy with useful information.

Speaking earlier, Chairman of the Warri Correspondent Chapel of the NUJ, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, who led other members to the visit said

the visit was to strengthen the working relationship the union had with the NNS Delta with the view of effectively inf