By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The Cross River government has called on the federal government to properly equip the Nigerian Navy in order for it to effectively patrol the maritime corridor in the state in order to sustain the drastic reduction in militancy and kidnapping activities which were possible due to the high number of escape routes for them.
The Governor, Senator Ben Ayade made the call during a farewell visit by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) of the Nigerian Navy Monday in Calabar, Rear Admiral Matthew Emuekpere where sought the establishment of a maritime checkpoint in the state and acknowledged the contribution of the navy in the security architecture of the state.
The governor said: “With effective policing of our maritime corridors that was hitherto escape routes to kidnappers, kidnapping has come to its knees in Cross River and we must sustain the tempo by establishing a maritime check point at strategic locations alone the waterways.”
He added that: “We have identified 33 escape routes to kidnappers out of which 27 are in isolated locations, all along the waterways and if we have these spots manned by the Navy, the state will be fully protected from kidnappers and all forms of militancy.”
He further explained that, “Cross River State is not only bordered by land but maritime and so is the easiest target of Nigeria if the country finds itself in any form of external aggression, so I use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to step up funding for the security of our maritime corridor.
“Our maritime domain is heavily challenged security wise, in terms of armament, equipment, capability, training and ready-ability to response and there is need to improve on the current compatibility status there in line with present realities to save the country from attacks.”
According to Ayade, “If the Eastern Naval Command is well positioned and granted the necessary platform alone side the Western Command, Lagos, the whole of Nigeria would be protected from any form of external aggression and all illegal economic activities will be brought to minimal if not totally eradicated.”
Commending the Navy command in the state under the outgone FOC, Ayade averred that: “Sea piracy, militancy and smuggling through the waters dropped drastically during his stay in Calabar.”
Also, Ayade lauded the military – civil relations in the state through the effort of the FOC and his men even as he promised to tackle the erosion menace confronting the command at their operational base in Calabar.
Earlier, Rear Admiral Emuekpere thanked the government and the people of Cross River for being good hosts and pledged his readiness to support the state whenever the need arises.
The Naval Headquarters had in a release signed by its spokesman, Commodore Ayo Olugbode on August 15, 2018 announced that Rear Admiral David Adeniran who was the commander, Naval Drafting, Apapa, Lagos will take over as the new FOC, ENC while Rear Admiral Emuekpere has been appointed the Chief of Administration, Naval Headquarters, Abuja.
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