Port Harcourt — Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has appealed to the Nigerian Navy to established a base around Esighi, where the Bakassi Deep Seaport project is sited.
The governor made the appeal during a courtesy visit by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, to the Governor’s Office, Calabar.
Ayade, who particularly spoke on the need for a strong Naval presence across the domain of the seaport project, thanked the Naval Chief for the proposed Naval operational bases at Ikang and Dayspring Island.
He pledged to sign the Certificate of Occupancy for the ongoing construction of Naval facilities in Calabar, while commending the Navy for its security efforts, which according to him, have kept the state out of harm’s way, following the complex nature of its location vis a vis maritime security challenges.
“I plead with the Navy to also establish a base around Esighi where the Bakassi Deep Seaport project is sited.
“We will need a strong naval presence, we will need a naval patrol across the entire length and breadth of our maritime domain.”
Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, informed yhe governor that the Nigerian Navy was set to establish an outpost at Ikang and a naval security station at Dayspring Island.
Both locations are in the Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River which shares maritime boundary with the Republic of Cameroon.
Gambo explained that the move has become necessary due to the security situation in the state, cultists, kidnappers and other criminal elements.
“It has been part of our strategic plan and I think it is expedient that speedily we establish outpost and security station in these locations so that we can improve our security architecture in the state and of course, secure our borders and around the Republic of Cameroon.
“We want to reassure you of the availability of the Nigerian Navy; we are at your service to ensure that Cross River State and her good people are safe and secured for economic prosperity and development.
“I want to inform you, Your Excellency, of the ongoing general operations in the creeks around the state to ensure we rid it of all criminal elements; the cultists, the kidnappers and all that to make sure it is safe for maritime business to thrive since Cross River is a litoral state.
“In that regard, we are also collaborating with other agencies the Army, the Airforce and of course, the police and other security agencies in the state to ensure that the waterways are safe and secure for the prosperity of the good people of Cross River State.”
Photo: Governor Ben Ayade and the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo