By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE Nigerian Navy said weekend, that it was fully on alert to protect Nigeria’s unity in the face of the ongoing ethnic tension precipitated by agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The Navy, which also said it was fully deployed to maintain the country’s internal security from the maritime environment, disclosed that its special operations in the southern part of the country was combat ready to protect Nigeria from the maritime area.
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas , who spoke during the Nigerian Navy 3rd Quarter Route March, at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, said there was no cause for alarm over for tension, saying the service was carrying out its constitutional mandate of protecting the country from the seas for “our economy to boom and for development to come to the country.”
Ibas, who was represented at the occasion by the Chief of Naval Transformation, Rear Admiral Ibe Enenwo, said the route match was part of the service efforts at keeping personnel physically and mentally fit to execute the tasks enshrined in their constitutional mandates.
The naval boss said even without being given new directive on involvement in the new security challenges in the country,the Nigerian Navy, under him was already fully deployed on how to tackle the menace.
“Even without tasking, we are fully deployed in internal security situations as required by the constitution and for our own peculiar environment, the maritime environment, “he said.
But he said the route march was not a parade to respond to the IPOB threats, rather, he said it was meant to keep personnel fit in their line of engagement.
He also denied that the exercise was carried out in line with the Defence Headquarters’ directive to military services to tackle IPOB’s threats.
While disclosing that the exercise was holding simultaneously in all naval locations all over the country, he said it was required now that we as military personnel keep fit because for you to execute the demanding task as you have pointed out; things like security challenges and more now than we have before.
” We need to keep fit, we need to have our minds together so that we will be able to react to the situation as they emerge. ”
Disclosing that the route march was compulsory for personnel, he warned that those who abstained may get into trouble.
” It is a compulsory exercise unless of course, you are excused as a result of due process, maybe medically challenge or you are out of station.
” And it may interest you to note that at the end of the exercise, we are going to take what I may call roll-call, parade- state to confirm, that all those who were supposed to be here are here and if they are not here, they will pay for it.
“First of all, they will be required to do their own and add some extra to it as a penalty. That’s the minimum punishment for them, “he added.