Security activities and vigilance in Nigeria’s waters especially in the Niger Delta areas need to be scaled up because foreign oil thieves and vandals come only through the waters.
This was revealed by the newly appointed Rivers State commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Basil Igwebueze, who said greater vigilance in Nigeria’s waters is being exercised by the Command.
The new commandant spoke when he played host to the Energy and Maritime Reporters (EMR) wing of the Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to commemorate the International Seafarers Day, 2023.
He gave huge credit to the National Commandant, Ahmed Abubakar Audu, in supporting the command to carry out its duties.
He said his command was out to combat oil vandalism and other activities that affect oil revenue. He also said their activities lead to drop in oil revenue.
“The FG equips us to fight these people and protect oil facilities and assets. We thus implore you to help identify the criminals because they are humans,” he said.
He said the media was free to call out erring members of the command and other security agencies to ensure probity and accountability.
He also urged the media to help reach groups and unions in the oil sector to understand and appreciate the role of the NSCDC. “Endeavour to uphold the relationship with us so together we can win the battle against oil vandalism.”
Earlier in his speech, the chairman of the EMR, Martins Giadom of Radio Rivers, said the group was in the command to seek better ways to strengthen partnership.
He said EMR seeks free flow of information to enable reporters convey more correct information to the public and reduce friction between the NSCDC and the public.
Congratulating Igwebueze on his elevation and appointment as commandant, the EMR leader hoped the partnership is one that would help in the task of covering the war against oil theft.
Giadom said: “The World Seafarers’ Day holds immense significance as it allows us to reflect upon the incredible contributions made by seafarers worldwide. These courageous men and women, through their dedication and resilience, navigate the vast oceans, connecting continents, and ensuring the smooth flow of international trade. They form an integral part of our global economy and deserve our utmost recognition and support.
“Oceans however, end in rivers that cascade around a country, Nigeria is not an exception with its share of Rivers mainly the Niger and Benue rivers that empty into the Atlantic Ocean.”
He said the Blue Economy concept would not be anything if seafarers do not play the role of guardians of sea assets.
“As journalists, we are committed to shedding light on their endeavours, capturing their stories, and raising awareness about the challenges they face. We have a responsibility to share their experiences, their triumphs, and their struggles with the world.
“Seafarers in Nigeria have however, not been projected to national limelight in relation to the criticality of their economic relevance. It is the duty of journalists, especially the EMR, to embark on this task.
“Seafarers often spend months away from their families, working tirelessly in harsh conditions, braving storms and rough waters. Their dedication and sacrifices often go unnoticed, but it is our duty as journalists to ensure their voices are heard, their stories are told, and their rights are protected. With our reporting, we can highlight the challenges they encounter, advocate for their welfare, and bring about positive change in their working conditions. This is why we seek this collaboration.”
He said as the world marked the 2023 World Seafarers’ Day, EMR, as an organisation, is committed to reporting the Energy and Maritime sector of Nigeria’s economy. “We are dedicated to providing in-dept reporting and analysis of the sector, ensuring prompt and efficient reportage and offering essential media services to all maritime and energy stakeholders.
“We stand ready to collaborate with NSCDC and other maritime organisations to enhance adequate reportage of activities of seafaring across deep and shallow waters.”
In his introductions, the public relations officer (PRO) of NSCDC in the state, Ayodeji Olufemi, described Igwebueze as a brilliant officer who holds excellent records.