The Western Naval Command, under the leadership of Rear Admiral MB Hassan, has taken a determined step to address the challenges of smuggling, piracy, oil theft, and other illicit activities in Nigeria’s maritime space by launching “Operation WATER GUARD” (OP WG). The operation, inaugurated in the Badagry Axis of Lagos State, aims to bolster maritime security.
As the maritime threats in the region continue to escalate, Operation WATER GUARD is a strategic initiative aligned with the Nigerian Navy’s mission to safeguard the nation’s maritime environment. It is specifically focused on the Badagry water and land areas, particularly around Ashipa, a border community close to Benin Republic.
One of the key objectives of Operation WATER GUARD is to combat the smuggling of contraband goods, including Premium Motor Spirit, drugs, and foreign parboiled rice, which are valued at billions of Naira. These illicit activities not only jeopardize the availability of petroleum products but also pose health and security risks to the citizens. The operation covers both the maritime environment and adjacent land areas and involves the deployment of ships, boats, quad bikes, and air assets, demonstrating the Navy’s robust capabilities in safeguarding Nigeria’s maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea.
The operation includes various features such as interdiction, beach patrols, visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations, cordon and search activities, and a sustained naval presence to deter other criminal activities.
Rear Admiral MB Hassan, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, officially flagged off the operation and emphasized its significance in ensuring a conducive maritime domain during the upcoming yuletide period and beyond. He also sought support from the local communities and clarified that the operation would not introduce additional road checkpoints. Instead, intelligence-led checks would complement the Navy’s sustained sea presence.
The deployment of intelligence facilities has already exposed the hideouts of those involved in these activities, revealing images and videos that capture jerrycans stored in houses. These illegal operations are not only an economic sabotage but also pose significant fire hazards, with potential consequences for life and property. The Nigerian Navy is resolute in its efforts to address these issues.
Operation WATER GUARD underscores the Nigerian Navy’s unwavering commitment to enhancing maritime security under the leadership of Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, the Chief of the Naval Staff. It marks a pivotal moment in the ongoing initiatives to protect the nation’s waters and create a safer maritime environment. The operation aims to send a clear message that the Nigerian Navy will not tolerate illicit activities in its maritime domain.