The Chairman and CEO of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has called on the Nigerian Navy to establish a permanent naval protection base at the Dangote Refinery and the shores around the refinery in Lagos state noting his organization was ready to partner with the Navy in bringing this to fruition.
Making this known during a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo at naval headquarters of Friday, Alhaji Dangote said the permanent naval protection base would provide enabling environment and protection for the refinery which will be one of the largest in the world with a production capacity of 650, 000 barrels.
He said, “I am here first to congratulate you on your appointment and to seek for partnership between the Dangote Group and the Nigerian Navy in the protection of the maritime space and ensuring peace for our nation”.
“In this regard, I want to bring up the issue of the setting up of a permanent naval protection base in our refinery which is the largest production base with 650, 000 barrels per day capacity. There will be a lot of movements and economic activity.
Continuing Dangote said the Nigerian Navy is the statutory military force responsible for tackling sea criminality was very vital to the operations of the refinery because “we have 125 kilometres of sub-sea crude pipelines. We will be producing 3million urea by-product for export”.
“Our port is going to start operations next year. It will be as busy as Apapa port. We will need helicopter support which the navy is specialized in. We are aware of the need to support the navy in tackling some of its social challenges. We are ready to partner in barracks support and other areas as part of our contribution as a corporate citizen of Nigeria”.
Responding, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Zubairu Gambo welcome the efforts of the Dangote group towards partnering with the force saying, “We are glad to collaborate with the Dangote group. We will look into the possibility of building a Forward Operating Base.
He said, “The need for Dangote group to partner with us cannot be overemphasized as most of his investments are see born. Let me assure you that we (Nigerian Navy) will continue to deliver the services necessary to make our maritime environment secure.
Emphasizing that the Navy indulges in surveillance of the maritime space through its Maritime Domain Awareness platform, the ‘Falcon Eye’ which is a force multiplier and can detect sea infractions from naval headquarters, the CNS said, “From the headquarters, we respond through our mobile patrol teams at sea or through our operational commands”.
Disclosing that piracy is one of the major sea infractions in the maritime space, Admiral Gambo said “With our efforts and presence at sea, most of these crimes are perpetrated outside our exclusive economic zones which is 200 nautical miles outside out shores.
“However, some of the piracy that takes place outside the shores of this country are perpetrated by Nigerians particularly from the Niger Delta and some of the victims are brought back to this country”
The CNS also informed Alhaji Dangote that the Navy has capability to build sea going boats and other necessary equipment at its shipyard in Wilmot Point adding that the partnership should explore this area. We are also ready to train your technicians and take on surveying services for the group”.