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Bayelsa seeks partnership with Navy to tackle crude oil theft



The Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has urged the Nigerian Navy to collaborate with the state government in enhancing security on its waterways to curb oil theft and other criminal activities.

He stated this when participants of Course 7 of the Naval War College led by the Commandant, Rear Admiral Saheed Akinwande, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.

Commending the Federal Government on efforts to check the menace of oil theft, Diri stressed the need to ensure zero-tolerance for such activities, which he noted had adversely affected the state, the nation’s economy as well as the environment.

He said “The Navy and other military bodies are also part of this course. Your theme, which is quite apt, is about inland water security, the blue economy and our potential in Bayelsa.

“I commend the Federal Government because the various bunkering points have been greatly reduced. While I appreciate the Federal Government and the Navy for their unrelenting efforts, it is not yet uhuru. We still have pockets of bunkering.

“So, we need to totally stop bunkering in Bayelsa for reasons that are not far-fetched. It affects our state and the national economy. Our environment is being polluted by oil-producing companies and through oil bunkering activities. Our health is also endangered.”

Diri, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, equally spoke on the need to tap the economic potential that abounds in the state’s maritime domain to create wealth and boost socio-economic activities that would be mutually beneficial to the state and the country.

He also noted that part of the wealth of the country is in its maritime environment which is not yet tapped. He also added that a collaboration between the state, the Navy and other maritime agencies can harness the thousands and millions of dollars that are untapped in the maritime domain.

While appreciating the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, for choosing Bayelsa to conduct the four-day study tour, he said the state was predominantly maritime and seeks to invest in areas such as aquaculture and boat building.

The Commandant of the Naval War College, Rear Admiral Saheed Akinwande, said the theme of this year’s environmental study tour was “Inland Waterways Security, Socio-economic Development: Bayelsa State in Perspective.”

Akinwande said participants were expected to proffer strategies to enhance security within the inland waterways and contribute to the socio-economic development of Bayelsa and Nigeria.

He added that the Federal Government was exploring various options to diversify the national economy, one of which is the blue economy initiative.

According to him, “The model seeks sustainable exploitation of enormous resources in our nation’s maritime environment. The blue economy is valued at 1.5 trillion US dollars.”

He said there were 23 participants, including one from Cameroon, and part of the tour was to visit selected state government and military establishments.

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