The Nigerian Navy has expressed its readiness to tackle the challenges of insecurity and illegal oil bunkering on the coastlines through community collaboration.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Ibas, gave the assurance during the inauguration of a Navy residential quarters in Ikuru Town, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers, on Friday.
The quarters, consisting of four blocks of flats, were donated to the Navy by Green Energy International Ltd and Lekoil Consortium, which are oil exploration companies operating in Ikuru Town.
Ibas was represented by Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ofik, the Chief Logistics, Naval Headquarters.
He said the companies made the donation to provide prominence and permanent presence for the Navy in the volatile Eastern waterways of Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers states.
Ibas said the presence of the Navy would further strengthen effective coastal policing and check illegal oil bunkering.
“The Nigerian Navy appreciates this worthy donation as it came at such a time when the Navy is exploring necessary measures to secure our waterways and end the activities of oil vandals.
“I charge the oil companies and the host community to maintain this developmental process as the Navy is poised to ensuring effective use of the facility,” he said.
Mrs Ibioku Amachree, the Administrative Manager, Green Energy International Ltd, said the donation was part of the company’s promise to support community development in the area.
“In our Memorandum of Understanding with our host community we promised to set up a community development trust fund.
“The sum of N90 million would be remitted annually by our joint venture (Green Oil Energy/Lekoil) into the community development trust fund.
“The trust fund would be managed by designated signatories from the host communities,” she said.
Mr Adeleke Adedipe, Chief Operating Officer of Lekoil Company, also assured the community of a safe environment and promised that the company would abide by the country’s environmental laws.
Adedipe said the company would not flare gas in its operations.
He also promised to ensure that the gas generated in the process of oil exploration would be converted to electricity for the community, which presently was not connected to the national grid.
In his speech, His Royal Majesty, King Aaron Ikuru, on behalf the community, thanked the Nigerian Navy and Ofik, an indigene of the community.
He urged the youth in the community to emulate the admiral who had made both the community and the nation proud in his career.
Ofik was later honoured with the highest Chieftaincy title of Oje isi akon I of Ikuru Town, which means ”The First War Lord of Ikuru Town’’.
He thanked the community for the honour done him and promised to help ensure security of lives and properties of the people.
He urged the youth to shun vices and focus on attracting development to the area.