- Buhari Approves Establishment of Naval Base in Lake Chad
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the establishment of an operational base for the Nigeria Navy in the Lake Chad with the intention to boost security in the strategic zone.
The president gave the approval when he received the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, at the Presidential Village, Abuja.
Fielding questions from journalists after the meeting, Ibas who said he was at the Villa to brief the president on security situation in the maritime sector, added that the approval was significant because Lake Chad is a strategic location which serves as the link to four other countries.
According to him, establishing an operational base in Lake Chad would go a long way in consolidating the security situation in the area and consequently boost its economic activities.
“The president approved the establishment of an operational base for the navy in the Lake Chad area basically to help provide security there. Lake Chad is a strategic location that provides the transportation means for four nations.
“The Nigerian Navy’s presence there is to help in consolidating on the security of that area and facilitate economic activities to pick up. The presence of the navy there will help to hasten the development efforts of the community,” Ibas said.
The naval chief also expressed pleasure over what he described as favourable maritime environment in the country which he said had paved the way for legitimate economic activities.
“We are glad that the security situation in the maritime environment has remained favourable to allow legitimate economic activities to take place,” Ibas stated.
However, he said naval operations in recent times had gone beyond merely policing the maritime environment, pointing out that the Nigeria Navy had also been part and parcel of military joint task force, including operation Lafiya Dole.
Lafiya Dole is the platform for the military’s combat against Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east.
He also said the presence of the Nigerian Navy in the Gulf of Guinea had been highly instrumental to the drastic reduction of notorious activities being perpetrated in the region.
Ibas further disclosed how he briefed the president on the navy’s partnership with some regional and international bodies with the intention to build capacity and foster intelligence sharing and the president charged him to keep doing whatever will promote Nigeria’s prosperity.
“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 maritime environment. We have been part of the various joint task forces including the Lafiya Dole.
“On privacy, the assertion about the Gulf of Guinea being the most notorious water in this part of the world has been taken seriously. In the last one year, we have in place a dedicated task force there to address this challenge.
“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. A lot is being done by the navy to contain the menace of pirates. The president said we should continue to do that which will enable our country to prosper,” he stated.