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Navy deploys helicopter to fight kidnapping, sea robbery in Ondo riverine area

By Tola Gbadamosi

In its continued effort to ensure that the riverine communities are free of kidnapping, sea robbery and illegal refining of petroleum products, a Nigerian Navy helicopter has been deployed to the Navy Forward Operating Base, FOB in Igbokoda to nip in the bud criminal activities in the area.

The Commanding Officer, Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, FOB, Igbokoda, Ondo State, Captain Wasuku Alushi, dropped the hint while speaking with newsmen on the successes recorded by the Base in the area of checkmating crimes in his mandate area.

Captain Alushi hinted, that the helicopter was deployed solely to extend the line of sight of surface assets by carrying out over the horizon targeting and passing useful informations to surface assets.

“So that is why the helicopter has been deployed and it’s going to be in this environment until we are able to arrive at a reasonable conclusion as far as kidnapping and sea robbery is concerned in this area.

He added, that all the riverine communities are in focus, but that emphasis would be laid on Araromi Waterside, Aberike, Idiogba, Awoye, Skelewu down to Ese-Odo local government area, specifically, Safa-Arogbo and Agagba.

The Naval Captain recalled, that in his area of operations, about six weeks ago, that a very large illegal refining site at Araromi Sea-Side was discovered which led to the clampdown on oil thieves, a move that has positively improved Crude oil production.

“After the attack on the illegal refineries was launched as well as the arrest of MT VINNALARIS 1 Lagos, crude oil production in the area has steadily improved.

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“So, we have achieved so much successes in terms of curbing Crude Oil Theft and illegal oil bunkering as well as illegal refining of petroleum products.

“Following these successes, we discovered that the criminal elements have now shifted to kidnapping and sea robbery. You know there is a nexus between kidnaping, sea robbery, crude oil theft or illegal bunkering as they are all perpetrated by same criminal cartel.

Following the criminals switch to kidnapping, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Bala Hassan directed, that we initiate a fresh operation under the overall mandate of operation Delta Sanity, to checkmate the rising cases of kidnapping and Sea robbery in FOB Igbokoda area of responsibility.

“Precisely last week, a serious water wave crime occurred between Idiogba and Awoye community where a petrol station attendant was kidnapped and undisclosed amount of money was carted away by the criminal elements.

“Two days after, base on credible intelligence, Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, FOB, Igbokoda, traced the water wave kidnappers to a location close to Abereke where a very important suspect was arrested with incriminating evidences, like ammunition in his possession. That suspect has been transfered to one of the security agencies for further interrogation and investigation.

“So far, he has been able to make some very useful revelations that would help us in planning for future operations.

“We will continue to track the kidnappers to ensure the rescue of the girl.

According to him; “we are here today in furtherance of the mandate of Operation Delta Sanity.

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“You will recall that about seven weeks ago, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Uchechukwu Ogala launched Operation Delta Sanity with the broad objective of sanitising Nigeria’s Maritime domain, particularly the Niger Delta of all maritime related crimes especially Crude Oil Theft and illegal bunkering activities and so far, that operation has lived up to its expectation with verifiable evidence.

While stating that the criminal elements are interested in the economic benefit they can derive at the expense of the Nigerian state and the law-abiding citizens, he enjoined them to desist or be ready to be smoked out.

“I believe they have every cause to worry because we are going to smoke them out with the Helicopter through our pictorial intelligence as well as other intelligence at our disposal. We will put everything together and plan a robust operation to ensure that sanity returns to the riverine communities especially in terms of kidnappings and sea robbery.

“I also want to enjoin the peace-loving people of the community, that we will always be there for them to ensure that they carry out their lawful activities in the maritime environment without intimidation from any quarter”, he assured.

Navy deploys helicopter to fight kidnapping, sea robbery in Ondo riverine area

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