Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday granted immediate approval for provision of land to the Nigerian Navy in the Ibeju Lekki area of the state to install surveillance equipment to monitor activities on the Nigerian territorial waters and a little beyond the exclusive economic zones of the country.
Governor Ambode, who made the announcement during a courtesy visit paid on him at the Lagos House, Ikeja by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, said the surveillance gadget would go a long way in putting a halt to criminal activities going on within the creeks around the state and generally on the Nigerian waters.
He said with the realization of the fact that 20 percent of the 735 square kilometers of Lagos is covered by water, there was a very strong need for the state government to partner with the Nigerian Navy to ensure security and welfare of the people especially as it relates to water, and that such was what his administration has been doing and even improving upon since coming on board.
He revealed that the students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary School in Ikorodu who were recently kidnapped but rescued by security agents, were kept in the creeks for six days, and that the existence of such surveillance gadget would have expedited the rescue operation.
While granting the request, Governor Ambode said: “I like to assure you that you have our immediate consent and approval for the land in Ibeju Lekki which is just 150 meters by 1 kilometer for the installation of the Falcon Eye Equipment that you have proposed in that place.
“The additional value for us is that we will be able to see what is happening on our waters and in the creeks and the Nigerian Navy has actually agreed to give us access to the equipment so that it can be linked up to our command and control centre.
“This is very important to us coming on the heels of the recent kidnapping that took place in Lagos last week. The six days for which the students were away with their abductors were days of gory tales and anxiety for us and to actually observe that the pupils were actually in the creeks for those days, there will be no other strategy to put a halt to this kind of menace if we do not address the issues that relate to our territorial waters,” the Governor said.
He assured that his administration, more than ever before, will continue to support the Navy to carry out its duties effectively and efficiently, just as he congratulated the agency for its 60 years anniversary coming up later in the year.
“Lagos as well will be 50 next year and we also believe that we need to improve on our tourism potentials most especially tourist activities on water and so we are thinking much about channelization of the waterways and also to have the Marine Police to help us to sustain what we are doing to attract investors into our waterways and ultimately improve on the GDP of Nigeria and enhance safety of all,” the Governor said.
Earlier, Vice Admiral Ibas, who was accompanied by top management officers of the Nigerian Navy, said he was at the Lagos House to thank Governor Ambode for the massive support and cooperation which the agency had enjoyed from the present administration in the state.
He lauded Governor Ambode for the support given to the agency which resulted in the success of Operation Awatse against pipeline vandals in Isawo/Arepo areas within the Lagos and Ogun boundaries, and said he was also aware of the ongoing plan by the Governor to donate gun boats and other equipment to the Nigerian Navy.
He also intimated the Governor of the Falcon Eye project, which is an initiative of the Office of National Security Adviser (NSA), whereby surveillance gadget would be installed to monitor activities on the Nigerian waters, and solicited the approval of the Lagos State Government for provision of land for take-off of the project, a request which was immediately granted by the Governor.