ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State has taken a decisive step in enhancing maritime security by procuring 14 gunboats for security agents to combat sea piracy in the state.
The inauguration of these patrol gunboats took place at the Nigerian Naval Ship Base in Ikot Abasi on Friday.
Governor Eno emphasized that the acquisition of these gunboats is a significant part of his commitment to strengthening maritime security along the coastlines and safeguarding critical economic assets within the state.
He highlighted the potential impact of this initiative on mitigating the activities of pirates and other criminal elements within coastal communities.
“These 14 gunboats will not only enhance our blue economy but also improve water transportation within and with neighboring states, ultimately benefiting the livelihood of our coastal communities,” said Governor Eno.
He acknowledged the existing collaboration between the Nigerian Navy, other security agencies, and the state government.
The Governor clarified that the waterways operation would be a joint task force led by the Nigerian Navy, supported by sister agencies and individuals familiar with the maritime environment, who may be identified through the Ibom Community Watch program and incorporated into operations.
Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the Chief of Naval Staff, commended Governor Eno’s visionary approach to exploring the blue economy, recognizing its potential to boost Akwa Ibom State’s economy and Nigeria as a whole.
He assured the commitment of the Navy to ensuring the security of the maritime environment, declaring the Akwa Ibom coastline a “no crime zone” and issuing a stern warning to criminal elements.
General Koko Essien (rtd.), the Commissioner for Internal Security and Waterways, emphasized the strategic importance of the Akwa Ibom coastline and its vulnerability to criminal activities.
He stated that the launch of the 14 patrol boats signals a decisive move against waterways criminals, affirming the government’s determination to dislodge them and ensure they face the law.