Port Harcourt — Indigenous oil firm, Aiteo Group, on Wednesday donated 50 assault gunboats and drones to the Nigerian Navy, in order to stem the tide of frequent attacks on oil and gas facilities by vandals.
Military assets handed over by the oil firm to the Navy in Port Harcourt include, 21 gunboats, 14 operational patrol boats, four high-speed interception inshore patrol boats.
Others are, seven houseboats, four airboats, four high-speed interception inshore patrol boats, long-range surveillance drones and six high definition cameras.
Speaking, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aiteo Group, Mr Benedict Peters, said the donation was imperative, owing to frequent attacks on its Nembe Creek Trunkline, NCTL and other critical oil and gas assets by vandals.
Peters, expressed optimism that the equipment would complement the Federal Government’s efforts in tackling the menace of oil theft and vandalism in the region.
“We know that the Nigerian Navy stands in the best position to address this menace if adequately equipped and supported.
“Consequently, Aiteo resolved to maximally lend its hands of fellowship by handing over these operational support equipment to enable the navy to secure the waterways and facilities.”
Receiving the hardwares, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, assured that the boats and the drones would be deployed to secure the Niger Delta creeks, in the fight against oil theft, sea piracy and vandalism.
Gambo commended the management of Aiteo Group for the donations and appealed for the support of other corporate entities, to enable the Navy to deploy more gunboats in securing facilities like the Nembe Creek Trunkline, operated by Aiteo.
The Naval boss further disclosed that the donation was as a result of months of collaboration with critical maritime stakeholders to support operations of the Navy.
“The delivery of these platforms and assets aligns with the provisions of the Nigerian Navy 2021-2030 strategic plans on inter-agency and sub-regional cooperation.
‘This is a milestone in our collaborative engagement with corporate maritime stakeholders to rid the nation’s maritime environment of criminal elements and economic saboteurs.
“To this end, these platforms will enhance the navy maritime security architecture and bolster our maritime security operations effort.”