02 December 2015, Asaba —Minister of Defence, Muhammad Dan-Ali, has charged the Nigerian Navy to collaborate with all stakeholders in the fight against maritime crime in the country.
Speaking at a two-day retreat organised by the Nigerian Navy, Dan-Ali, who spoke through the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, decried the increase in maritime crime, adding that the mainstay of the country was derived from the maritime sector.
Noting that the retreat was to fashion out new strategies to fight maritime crime, the Defence Minister noted that the Nigerian armed forces were committed to the fight against crime.
Delta State governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, in his opening remark at the event, charged the Nigerian Navy to declare a state of emergency on the maritime security.
Okowa warned that the country was hanging precariously on a financial cliff owing to dwindling receipts to the Federation Account occasioned by falling oil prices.
He said it would be double jeopardy if, in addition to the current low price of oil, the country was unable to meet its oil production quota due to oil theft and illegal bunkering.
According to Okowa, what is needed is a well rounded maritime security architecture that is broad, deep and muscular, adding that the retreat should come up with well reasoned and realistic measures to combat piracy, oil theft and sundry criminal activities in the maritime sector that were threatening the economic survival of the nation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, assured that the Navy would continue to partner relevant stakeholders in the credible performance of its statutory duties.
Saying that the Navy was conscious of the great investment the country has continued to make on her, and mindful of the expectations of Nigerians, Ibas expressed the hope that the forum had the potential to proffer solutions that would provide an accelerated traction in their commitment to address the myriads of challenges in the maritime environment.