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Why Vessels Prefer Lagos Ports by delpee(f): 9:25am On Sep 11, 2022
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Why vessels prefer Lagos to eastern ports – Naval spokesperson, Ayo-Vaughan


By Tunde Ajaja
11th September 2022
AYO VAUGHAN

The Director of Information, Nigerian Navy, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, shares with TUNDE AJAJA efforts by the navy to curb crude oil theft, support sister agencies in the anti-terrorism fight and discipline in the service

The issue of crude oil theft has remained an intractable problem and the navy began the court-martialling of 13 naval officers for complicity in the menace, what is the outcome of that exercise?

The court-martial ended some months ago. It started last year and it was an allegation of complacency against some of our men. The report has been submitted and is being reviewed to know whatever verdict would be given to them or whether they were able to defend themselves. The navy is trying to do a quarterly publication of persons who committed very serious offences so that people would know that the navy is being purged of bad eggs. In every organisation, not all the eggs are good. However, the names of erring persons are usually released within the armed forces system. There are also instances where some people try to induce our men. I have served in the Niger Delta many times, so I know. However, we keep talking to our men and we remind them of the punishment that would be meted out to them if they are caught. The Chief of Defence (General Lucky Irabor) has also been very particular about what the men serving in the Niger Delta should not do, for the good of the environment, the country and the image of the Armed Forces. We welcome any report of compromise or involvement of our personnel, with facts, so the authorities could need the needful.

What is the solution to these leakages from the perspective of the navy, since you are on the field?

The solution I would propose is a look at the factors that occasion force majeure, the factors that bring about metering errors and problems, the things that need to be put in place for the effective surveillance of the pipelines, particularly technology. There are 3,000 creeks in Delta State and while I served in Operation Restore Hope in 2011, there were times you would send out men and if they didn’t have a guide, they could get missing in the creeks. So, the knowledge of the creeks come into play and it’s some of the locals that are siphoning the fuel because they know the area better than even security agents. So, how do we get these locals and other persons involved to be patriotic? How do we get these people to know they can do better rather than destroying pipelines? It has to be a reorientation and it has to involve the efforts of political leaders, traditional rulers, even though some of them are also compromised. The idea of looking for shortcuts and this get-rich-quick syndrome is a reflection of the larger society. There is also the issue of attitude to life. When the young people were getting stipends from the oil companies, somebody would have their name with different companies and after that, they would still threaten to sabotage the companies if they were not given more money. That mindset needs to change. Yes, the oil is yours but you are not going to drink the oil. We are still a federation. So, they need to get engaged and live moderately so they can sustain that lifestyle with legitimate income. It has to do with a lot of reorientation and education, which I believe is doable.


Due to the rate of pirate attacks on Nigerian waters, vessels going to the Niger Delta area were mandated to procure war insurance, yet Nigeria needs the eastern ports to decongest the Lagos ports. What’s the situation at this time?

The Nigerian Navy in particular has been able to reduce to the barest minimum maritime piracy, such that for about five months, there has been no report of pirate attacks or violence in our offshore waters. However, I know that since the clean slate was given to the Nigerian maritime environment by the International Maritime Bureau, there are discussions at different levels to reverse that war insurance pronouncement. I have been to all the ports in the Niger Delta, not through the land but through the waterways. Lagos is the best in Nigeria because of accessibility. In six minutes you are in Apapa and six minutes you are out and you can do it 24/7, but when you move to Escravos, Warri, you need over one hour to enter. When you move to Calabar, it’s the same thing. When you move to Port Harcourt, yes it’s very smooth to Bonny but it’s about 30 mins to 45 mins, depending on the speed of the vessel. So, for a seafarer or mariner, after spending two weeks at sea, you may not want to do another one hour to get to a certain port. I know the way we endured it when I served in those places. Insecurity may be one of the factors, but access is a key factor in those places. I know the governments of Akwa Ibom and Ondo states have conceptualised the need for a seaport like there are in Lagos. So, I believe efforts are being made to reverse this war insurance and to reduce the insurance premium for vessels coming to our waters.

Apart from fighting piracy and criminality on Nigerian waters, what role is the navy playing in the fight against insecurity in different parts of the country?

We are involved in anti-terrorism efforts and the navy plays a supportive role for many agencies, including our sister service like the army. A support element of the navy is with the army in Operation Hadin Kai in the North-East. We are also providing support for other operations in the North-West, North-Central and South-East. We collaborate with the Custom, particularly in the maritime domain. We collaborate with the Immigration, particularly at the maritime frontiers, like the frontiers with Cameroon. We even have a base there at Ibakar. We also work with the NSCDC. Majority of the over 100 suspects and oil thieves that have been arrested by the navy in the last six months were handed over to the NSCDC and we work with the Department of State Services. In the North-East for example, we have a complement of the navy, which is the navy special boat service, supporting the operations at the theatre. We have a Naval Base in Baga, Borno State. We also have our men in Operation Wild Punch. We have our men in Shagunu, Niger State, which is North-Central. They may not be as numerous as our colleagues in the army but they are there. We also have our naval base in Lake Chad, working with an amphibious brigade of the army in Maiduguri. The water has receded and there are a lot of islands here and there, and those places could be safe havens for the insurgents. So, we have a naval base on Lake Chad. In the North-East where there is a Civilian Joint Task Force, we also have our men there.

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Nigeria seems overwhelmed by insecurity currently, with the rate of killings and kidnapping in different parts of the country. How strong is the Nigerian navy?


We are a strong navy by all standards, particularly in the sub-region. The Nigerian navy remains the sub-regional maritime power. It’s undisputed. In the last five years, the navy has been undergoing fleet recapitalisation. We have new platforms, we are expecting new platforms and we are doing our best to maintain the old ones we have. There is a move to refit the flagship of the nation, Nigerian Navy Ship Aradu. The senators are championing the case for her refit. Initially, it was thought not to be too economically viable, but for prestige reasons, they are making a case for her refit. As we speak, the Chief of Naval Staff will be travelling to Turkey soon for two offshore patrol vehicles that are being built there. There are also defence boats that are being built locally at the naval dockyard in Victoria Island, Lagos. They would be the fourth and fifth the navy is building. We have built three since we keyed into local content for ship building. We also took delivery of Nigerian Navy Ship Lana last year and she is carrying out a milestone, epoch-making task as we speak. She is surveying our offshore waters, which were last surveyed 200 years ago by the British. But with Lana, we are going to be producing our own charts. We don’t need to rely on the British again. The flag off for the survey of our waters was done in June by NNS Lana, a survey ship built in France. A sister ship of ours is also being built in France. We have Aresa, Inshore and Offshore patrol craft that were built. So, if you put together the size of our fleet, and the number of ships in the sub-region, we are actually not at par and there is no basis for comparison. We also took delivery of NNS Kada, which is a landing ship transport, and is for humanitarian, disaster relief effort and for the sealift role for the army. NNS Kada is a replacement for NNS Ambe and Ofiom that were in service during the ECOMOG days but have been decommissioned. Since Kada came in, she had undertaken national assignments to Guinea Bissau to deliver logistics and materials to the Nigerian contingent that was part of the ECOWAS stabilisation support mission in Guinea Bissau after the coup that took place there. So, as we speak, the fleet is being recapitalised and we can only be grateful to the government of the day and Nigerian taxpayers, whose resources are being put into good use for the good of Nigeria.

Some Nigerians still fault the citing of a naval base in landlocked Kano State. Even though there are naval bases in similar states, what was the rationale behind it?

The one in Kano State is not the first. We have the Nigerian Navy School of Health and Medical Services, in Offa, Kwara State. We have the Nigerian Navy School of Armament Technology in Kachia, Kaduna State. There is the Nigerian Navy School of Music in Ota, Ogun State. The one in Kano is Nigerian Navy Logistics College. The reason why it was conceptualised was because we are involved in land operations now. The Nigerian Navy Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy makes provision for involvement in such operations, which means we are playing our primary role in the maritime sector, but we are playing a support role to land forces as Military Aid to Civil Power and Military Aid to Civil Authority, which is part of our constitutional mandate; MACA and MACP. In doing that, there was the need to have a logistics chain of supply for our men in those operations. Also, Kano being central is the reason why that was put in place and it’s still undergoing construction. It also brings the navy close to the people in the north.

It has become common practice for military men and personnel of other security agencies to harass private citizens, what are you doing to end this menace because it breeds disgust for such agencies and undermines the support people are supposed to give such security agencies?

It’s a very wrong mentality to do that and we keep educating our men. In the training school, we make the men understand that there are sister agencies that also have their distinct roles and are worthy of respect. So, we make them realise they are not superhuman beings and they need to recognise others. The present state of security has brought about inter-service comradeship and esprit de corps. With regard to the average Nigerian citizen, that issue has been there for a long time, but the effort is to keep educating them and making scapegoats of those that brutalise and manhandle people. We remind them that they would also remove the uniform one day. If for nothing, they have relatives that are civilians, so it is only necessary that people are accorded their respect as fellow citizens. We are working on it, and even at the strategic level higher than us, it’s something of concern, because we are an apolitical military.


The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was in Lagos on Thursday to inaugurate the Nigerian Navy Sports Complex and the 12th Nigerian Navy Games. What was the motivation for the sports complex?

The President was in Lagos to flag off the 12th Nigerian Navy Games and inaugurate the just completed Nigerian Navy Sports Complex at Navy Town, Ojo. It was the first of its kind. The idea of the sports complex was initiated by the former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (retd.). The need was borne out of the fact that there are a lot of young people in the barracks, young sailors and children of the sailors and accessing any recreational facility is somewhat difficult because of the road and the way Satellite Town is now. In that axis, apart from the Ojo Cantonment and maybe some small places in FESTAC, except you go to Surulere, Teslim Balogun and the National Stadium before you could find a recreational facility. So, I believe that motivated the construction of the sports complex and it would be for the dwellers of Navy Town and that area. It’s quite big, comprising the normal pitch for 400 metres, football field, indoor sports arena, swimming pool, and an arena for viewers. So, it’s quite big and a lot was spent to realise it.

Contact: theeditor[at]punchng.com


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1 Like 1 Share

Re: Why Vessels Prefer Lagos Ports by SlavaUkraini: 9:26am On Sep 11, 2022
OP edit your post effectively...

You just copy and paste everything.... ?

Remove the unwanted details from your post..

1 Like

Re: Why Vessels Prefer Lagos Ports by mrvitalis(m): 9:29am On Sep 11, 2022
We hear you . Container ships are scared to go to Niger Delta

But oil and gas vessels are not scared to go load oil and gas ?

Make Una tell us another story.....is there militancy attacks on the akwa cross region ? ...so you are saying if Niger Delta was a country no container vessel would land on their shore ?

3 Likes

Re: Why Vessels Prefer Lagos Ports by Nobody: 9:52am On Sep 11, 2022
Seriously
Re: Why Vessels Prefer Lagos Ports by Thanksful: 10:38am On Sep 11, 2022
Stupid talk.

It will take a vessel 30 mins to 45 mins to get to Bonny. Because of 1 hr laps, the same ship prefer to wait for weeks to be cleared due to congestion at Lagos port because it can get their in 6 mins.

Omo! Our leaders are very stupid.

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