The Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Navy have moved against criminal activities in the nation’s waterways through a joint operation code named ‘Saukan Mikiya’.
A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information of the Air Force, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, said the two services are collaborated to fish out criminals operating anywhere in the maritime domain.
The statement cited crude and pipeline vandalism as major focus of the joint operation.
The exercise, according to Alonge, was informed by the unprecedented environmental damage, loss of lives and revenue to the country which the operation seeks to eradicate.
“The illegal activities, which include crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism that often result in environmental pollution, loss of lives/property and huge losses in accruable revenue to the Federal Government of Nigeria, would soon become a thing of the past”, the statement said.
The statement added that the operation held from Thursday to Friday around Port Harcourt, Brass River, Bonny River and seawards up to the Exclusive Economic Zone.
It explained that the Navy deployed some boats in strategic locations to monitor and block suspicious vessels along the creeks and the high sea while the NAF deployed its ATR 42 maritime patrol aircraft for the exercise.
The statement added that the NNS Okpabanna was deployed as the air control ship for the operation, stressing that the operation was aimed at ensuring enhanced security in the nation’s maritime domain through effective utilisation of the capabilities of the Air Force and the Navy.
By Pita Ochai