Four officers have been honoured by the Nigerian Navy Western Naval Command on Tuesday for their bravery and dedication in service to the nation through their duties in the Navy.
Four other officers who were exemplary in the course of duty were also recognized.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral YB Wambai, hosted the event, with Rear Admiral Francis Akpan (Rtd.) as the Special Guest of Honour.
The award ceremony was part of the Command’s Regimental Dinner Night, an event marking the end of year’s activities with opportunity of retrospection and developing strategic plan for the new year ahead.
The award is tagged the ‘Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command Commendation Award.”
Conducting the award ceremony, Captain GE Ugwu said: “the award is given to officers who have shown dedication to duty, selfless service to Nigerian Navy and enthusiasm in the conduct of their duties.”
Those honoured include Lieutenant Commander PM Bali, Commander MR Adamu, Captain BA Bassey, and Captain AO Odejobi.
Lieutenant Commander Bali reportedly arrested a vessel, MV Tokoni, stopping it from transporting illegal crude oil from Escravos in Nigeria to Tema, Ghana. In spite of operational challenges, he boarded the ship at the Coast of Benin Republic and brought it back to Lagos Anchorage.
Commander Adamu, a marine engineer, was said to have successfully supervised and completed over 142 maintenance task within 2022 alone. He supervised maintenance activities that sustained the operational availability of NNS Nguru and NNS Osun.
Captain Bassey was the Commanding Officer of NNS Prosperity from 2February to October 2022, when he executed several passage exercises with visiting naval ships from Italy, Spain, Brazil, India, and the United States Coast Guard. Despite machinery challenges, he was able to sail NNS Prosperity conveying visiting trainees and participants from NN and tri- service institutions to sea, being the navy’s foremost training ship. He sailed an unprecedented 21 days at sea, and rescued two Ghanaian fishermen during one of his routine patrols.
Captain Odejobi, an instructor pilot and currently the Acting Commander Naval Air Base Ojo, has participated in several exercises conducted under the Western Naval Command. He is deemed worthy of this award following his rescue of two boat crew who fell overboard during the EX Beni Kekere, which held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in the Eastern Naval Command Area of Responsibility, on 26 July, 2021.
Speaking, the Special Guest of Honour (SGOH), Rear Admiral Francis Akpan (Rtd.), expressed satisfaction that the Regimental Dinner Night served as platform for evaluation of the Command’s activities and immense contributions to the overall service of the Nigerian Navy to the nation.
He added that: ”professional efficiency can be measured from the premises of: the capacity to develop own forces, deploy own forces, sustain and maintain own forces during deployment and finally recall for future redeployment of own forces accordingly.”
He lauded the Command for excellence in all the tasks assigned to it, despite challenges of cost of fuel to keep platforms including ships, helicopters, boats, generators working, as well as several equipment servicing within the Command.
He said the Command’s efforts to ensuring a safe and secure maritime domain made it possible for Nigeria to be removed from the list of piracy-prone countries, considering among other things the development of the Falcon Eye Maritime Domain Awareness facility.
“I want to state that the Command actively contributed to the exit of Nigeria from the dark books of piracy to the clean slate of no incidents of piracy in the last 18 months,” he said.
The dinner night afforded close interactions among junior and senior officers.