The former Chief of Naval Staff (CNS),Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo CFR, has said his greatest achievement during his tenure as the CNS, is Nigeria’s removal from the list of piracy-prone countries by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
He made the statement at the Pulling/Sailing Out Ceremony held by the Nigerian Navy in his honor while emphasizing that the significant accomplishment, which took place in 2022, marked a turning point in the nation’s maritime security narrative after 27 years.
According to him: “The past two and half years have been very eventful and the Nigerian Navy has progressed. I have always believed that story of the Navy is journey and every leader that comes adds value to what he has met on ground. Maritime threats are ever dynamic and transnational in nature. In the last two and half years, Nigeria moved out of the piracy-prone countries in the world. This is a record which hasn’t been achieved for the past 27 years.”
“On illegal oil bunkering, through Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO the Navy brought this menace to the lowest ebb. The Nigerian Navy also leveraged highly on technology in its operations and this has made it more result-oriented and cost-effective. We don’t need to deploy most of our capital ships in the wild to keep pursuing culprits or maritime offenders because from the comfort of all the operational Commands, the Nigerian Navy can vector any maritime offending ships, platforms or persons such as pirates, sea robbers, among others.”
“This ensures that we are able to promptly arrest and prosecute such offenders through the Suppression of Piracy and Other related Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act 2019. There was the imprisonment of 12 pirates in July 2021 using the SPOMO Act.”
In his farewell address, Gambo expressed his appreciation for the privilege of serving as CNS and conveyed his commendation to former President Muhammadu Buhari. Additionally, he expressed gratitude and extended well wishes to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He further stated that during his tenure as leader, the Nigerian Navy witnessed remarkable advancements in operations, logistics, manpower development, and personnel welfare.
“We recorded great achievements in anti-crude oll theft, anti-piracy and counterinsurgency operations as well as fleet renewal and massive infrastructural development among others. An appraisal of these efforts explains the successes attained by the Service, with increasing capacity to project force across the Gulf of Guinea in support of our neighbours and international partners. The secrets to these noble achievements remain teamwork, integrity and professionalism.”
“As today is for gratitude and celebration and not an occasion for stocktaking, I would like to sincerely commend and thank the Twenty-Second indigenous CNS, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, for this honour done to me within a short period after his assumption of office, despite the enormity of his official and personal engagements as the CNS. I sincerely appreciate this gesture. You can be assured of my prayers, best wishes and support always.”
Expressing his gratitude to all Naval officers and ratings for their immense support during his tenure as CNS, Gambo urged them to extend the same level of excellence and collaboration to his successor, Rear Admiral Ogalla, the Chief of the Naval Staff, who is highly regarded as a competent officer.
“As the 21st indigenous Chief of the Naval Staff, it has been a unique opportunity to lead in the onerous task of delivering on our Navy’s constitutional role. I can say that our Navy is a Service of global repute and standards, which we can be proud of,” Gambo said.
He expressed immense joy at departing from a Navy that is now stronger and better equipped than ever before to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities for national security and economic progress.
He emphasized that his military journey, which began with officer cadet training in 1984, has been fulfilling, despite the challenging and thrilling experiences he encountered along the way.
The event also included a Parade and March Past, as well as the symbolic act of Pulling Out and Sailing Out of Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo.