The Cross River State Government has raised the alarm over the increasing security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea and wants the Eastern Naval Command to intensify maritime patrol and general security operations in the area. The state Security Adviser, Mr. Rekpene Bassey, told the new Commander of the Nigerian Naval Ship (NNS), Victory Calabar, Commodore Frederick Ogu, that the Gulf of Guinea was facing security problems, which needed to be tackled urgently before things get out of hand. In recent years, sea piracy, smuggling, oil bunkering, sea robbery and other sea crimes generally have been giving the nation’s security operatives challenges, prompting the Nigerian Navy to go into international collaboration with other nations that share the same maritime boundary with Nigeria. Twice in the last three years, states within the Gulf of Guinea held regional security conferences in Calabar, the Cross River State capital with a view for full cooperation on maritime patrol to check incessant reports of sea crime along their international maritime boundary. The new Commander of NNS Victory was in Bassey’s office on a courtesy visit, but the state Security Adviser commended the navy for rising to the occasion to stem the tide of piracy and robbery, thus making Cross River safe and secure for human habitation. He said since the state had tourism as the main stay of its economy, security should be given priority at all times, noting that though the state remains the safest and most peaceful in Nigeria, “we cannot rest on our oars in ensuring that effective security is sustained.’’ Bassey also commended the appointment of Rear Admiral Usman Jubrin as the new Chief of Naval Staff, saying the officer performed creditably well as the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Calabar, adding that he was “a first class military officer bound to bring great innovations to the Nigerian Navy.’’ He implored him to support the two naval formations in the state. Ogu, who commended the state government for the support it had given his command over the years, stressed that such assistance was evident in the donation of gun boats which had helped the command to carry out its activities effectively. Ogu, however, asked for more support as such would enable the navy to execute its professional assignment with ease and efficiently too.
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