The new Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Victor Adedipe, has said that the Nigerian Navy has the mandate to protect the Niger Delta region from all forms of illegalities, especially in the area of oil theft, sea piracy, illegal oil bunkering and others’’
The FOC, who stated this at the ENC headquarters in Calabar, Cross River State, while taking over the leadership of the command from Rear Admiral James Oluwole, reiterated Navy’s commitment towards the protection of the country’s maritime domain.
Adedipe was the former Deputy Commandant, Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, while Oluwole has been deployed to Naval headquarters in Abuja as the Chief of Logistics.
He said that he was taking over the command with vigour and the commitment of protecting the country’s national assets that are within the confines of the area of operational responsibility of the ENC.
He explained that the constitutional mandate of the Nigerian Navy has not changed, saying “it is to ensure the protection of Nigeria’s territorial integrity in the maritime environment.”
Adedipe added that the mandate was also to protect the national strategic assets that are within the confines of the area of operational responsibility of the Eastern Naval Command.
He said, “My coming on board is to add value to what my predecessor has already done in furtherance of the strategic directives of the Chief of the Naval Staff in ensuring that peace is sustained in the Niger Delta region.
“We have a mandate to protect the Niger Delta region from all forms of illegalities, especially in the area of oil theft, sea piracy, illegal oil bunkering and others.”
He called on officers and ratings of the command, maritime operators and the press to collaborate and cooperate with him as he takes over the mantle of leadership of the command.
Earlier, Oluwole said that the ENC was very strategic to the development of the country, adding that the ENC takes care of over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s wealth.
“During my leadership as FOC of the ENC, oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, sea piracy and other maritime crimes were reduced drastically due to the sustained patrol of the maritime domain by naval personnel.
“I would not have succeeded in achieving all that I have achieved today in the command without the cooperation and collaboration of the government of Cross River, Akwa-Ibom and Rivers states.
“Today, the command is wearing a new look, the new accommodation project for senior officers has been completed alongside the Navy Officers Wives Association secretariat,” he said.
He commended officers and ratings of the command for their cooperation, smartness and alertness in the discharge of their duties.
Highlight of the symbolic event was the handing and taking over of the ENC flag which symbolises the command of leadership.