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Ahead of new efforts to sustain the gains so far made by the Nigerian Army in fighting insurgency, President Muhammadu Buhari Monday approved the establishment of an operational base for the Nigerian Navy in the Lake Chad area to enhance security along the Basin.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, made this known in Abuja on Monday after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on activities of the Navy within and outside Nigeria.
According to Ibas, the Lake Chad area is a strategic location that provides means of livelihood to hundreds of thousands of people and the presence of the Nigerian Navy will help in consolidating on the security of the area.
“The President approved the establishment of an operational base for the Navy in the Lake Chad area basically to help provide security in that body of water.
“You would recall that Lake Chad is a strategic location that provides the transportation means for four nations that bound the Lake Chad.
“The Nigeria Navy’s presence there is to help in consolidating on the security of that area and facilitate economic activities to pick up, more so that we are recuperating from the effects of the insurgency.’’
On the closed door meeting with the President, the Naval Chief described the meeting as `special’.
He said the president was updated on the state of security in the maritime environment.
“It is a routine that we brief the Commander-in-Chief from time to time.
“This was a Special brief to update him on the state of security in the maritime environment where my operation takes place.
“We are glad that the security situation in the maritime environment has remained favourable to allow legitimate economic activities to take place.
“I also hinted him on the ongoing exercise that the Navy is conducting with other partners within the region and other international partners. It is aimed at building capacity and intelligence sharing.
“The Nigeria’s new maritime strategy sees our activities going just beyond the maritime environment.
“We have been part of the various joint task forces including the Lafiya Dole,’’ he said.
Ibas revealed that the Nigeria Navy had put in place a dedicated task force along the Gulf of Guinea, which he described as “the most notorious waters in this part of the world’’, to address the activities of pirates.
“The good news is that we have been there wherever they are and we have been able to challenge them. Incidences have reduced drastically and we intend to continue to dominate these areas,’’ he said.