The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has handed over its Tarkwa Bay Island facility to the Nigeria Navy to enable the navy establish its Forward Operating Base (FOB) as part of strategy in its fight against pirates, oil thieves and persons working against smooth port operations.
The facility, an 18 hectares of land with over six buildings, according to the General Manager Lands of the NPA, Mr. Ahmed Yusuf, was handed over to the Navy in furtherance of its relationship with the force and for the protection of the country’s maritime environment.
He said that he believed the establishment of the FOB would strengthen the bond and also help to secure facility both at the port and high sea.
His words: “We are pleased with the partnership we have with the NN, it had been a long one. I believe that the establishment of the FOB will further strengthen the bond between us.
“It will also help us to secure our port facility both at the port and high sea. Our expectations is that the NN will fully deploy and utilise this place so, that it will serve the purpose (and) have a strong presence that will impact positively on the security of the waterways.”
Mr. Yusuf said that the facility consist of an 18 hectares land, some chalets and other development, adding that, “this FOB issue has been with us. It started between NPA and NN, the discussion commenced on this FOB as far back as 2010.
According to him, “discussion had gone a long way, issues had been raised and resolved, but finally on June 24, the NPA accepted to give this place to the NN for the establishment of this base.”
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command Rear Admiral Oladele Daji who was represented by Rear Adm. Tanko Pani, the Chief Staff Officer while accepting the facility, said that the land would be judiciously used.
He said that the FOB would further checkmate nefarious activities within the Island and the high seas.
“I further assure you that the land being ceded to the NN will be judiciously used for the purpose for which it is being given.
“It is our shared vision that the proposed FOB will further checkmate the nefarious activities of criminal elements and other miscreants on the high seas and on Tarkwa Bay Island.
“While enhancing the safety and security of navigation within our waters in line with our collective mandate,” he said.
The FOC said that the siege faced by Tarkwa Bay Island made the Defence Headquarters to introduce Operation Kurombe to dislodge miscreants.
“It would be recalled that the Tarkwa Bay Island was under siege due to activities of unpatriotic Nigerians who carry out piracy, vandalism of NNPC pipelines as well as engaging in other criminal activities.
“This necessitated the authorisation of Operation Kurombe by the Defence Headquarters which dislodged the criminals and their collaborators from their various hideouts on the Island,” he said.
Daji said he was optimistic that the event would further demonstrate the enduring relationship between both organisations and also affect national security positively.
“Today, I have no doubt in my mind that this event will further demonstrate the enduring relationship between our dear organisations which will also impact positively on national security and development,” he said.
Daji, who is the Commander of Operation Awatse, also commended the communities who volunteered to be partners in progress with the NN by reporting the activities of the suspected criminals.
“Let me use the opportunity to applaud the efforts of communities in the neighborhood who volunteered to be partners in progress.
“Only two days ago, based in credible intelligence Operation AWATSE was able to arrest some suspected vandals and also confiscated nine trucks.
“Six were fully loaded with siphoned petroleum products from NNPC pipelines. The suspects are being investigated and on conclusion of investigation will be handed over to relevant agencies for prosecution,” he said.