The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy says the Navy saved the nation of N95bn through the operations of the command between April 2023 and February 2024.

This was disclosed in Calabar, on Monday, by Rear Admiral Olusola Oluwagbire, during a parade to mark the end of his tour of duty as the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command.

Following last year’s ultimatum by President Bola Tinubu to the service chiefs and heads of security and intelligence agencies to “crush” perpetrators of oil theft, there has been an increased onslaught on oil theft in the country.

In January, the Nigerian Army said it destroyed 233 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region and arrested 112 suspected oil thieves in 2023.

Also on February 11, 2014, the Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft arrested a motor tanker, SAISNIL II, allegedly involved in crude oil theft in Lagos State.

The outgoing commander said the command undertook several clearances and anti-crude oil theft operations in the backwaters.

He said the efforts led to the arrest of 13 vessels, including 101 suspects engaged in illegal bunkering, crude oil theft, illegal fishing and other maritime illegalities.

He said, “The operations equally led to the deactivation of about 315 illegal refining sites and 399 wooden boats.

“Furthermore was the seizure of 571,740 barrels of crude oil, 47,250 metric tons of Automotive Gas Oil, 1,574 drums of Premium Motor Spirit and 45 metric tons of Dual Purpose Kerosene, translating to over N95bn at the current market value.”

He said under his stewardship as the FOC, the command recorded significant achievements in infrastructure development across all its bases, units and establishments.

He listed the 16-room self-contained accommodation for officers at the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder, the renovation of the senior officers’ mess and offices at the forward operating base, Bonny, among others.

The outgoing commander said these achievements would not have been possible without the contribution of the officers, ratings and civilian staff of the ENC.

He appealed that the same support be given to his successor, Rear Admiral Saheed Akinwande.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Rear Admiral Olusola Oluwagbire assumed office as the FOC of the Eastern Naval Command on April 11, 2023.

February 20, 2024

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