Nigerian Navy is upgrading it’s outpost in the fishing town of Baga located in Kukawa Local Government Area of northern Borno and close to the shores of Lake Chad.
This is coming two years after the service withdrew from Baga, following an Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) attack on the Nigerian Marine Police, Naval outpost and Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) base in the town.
Admiral Ibikunle Taiwo Olaiya, the Chief of Training and Operations of the Naval Headquarters, who dropped the hint about the upgrading, praised personnel for their efforts during the attack and subsequent withdrawal alongside sister services.
Olaiya was speaking at the Navy’s end of the year gathering in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
In December, HumAngle reported that the Navy was still stuck in Maiduguri after personnel withdrew from the outpost at Mile three, which lies three miles from Baga, an area popularly called Fish Dam.
According to Olaiya, some personnel were still missing in action, but assured that the faultlines that led to the overrunning of the base have been studied and corrected to avoid a reoccurrence.
In August 2020, as part of a series of engagements with security chiefs, Babagana Zulum, Governor of Borno State met with the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, at the Naval Headquarters in Abuja
Zulum had a closed-door meeting with the Chief of Naval Staff and also made a case for the deployment of more naval personnel to Borno.
He described the Nigerian Navy as a critical component of operations in the shores of Lake Chad.
The meeting preceded the relocation of displaced persons to Baga after the Borno State government reconstructed and rehabilitated public buildings, residential houses, schools, healthcare facilities, markets and water facilities.
HumAngle learnt that the state government had supported the Navy with boats, a common practice by the government to providing equipment support to the military.
The Nigerian Navy has personnel embedded in the counter-insurgency operation against Boko Haram and ISWAP.
It was in 2016, following a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari that the Navy first establish and deploy personnel to man the Naval Outpost in Baga and operate around the shores of the Nigerian section of Lake Chad.
The Navy was also expected to dredge the Baga axis of Lake Chad to improve water flow and livelihood opportunities for the local population.
The navy and maritime support equipment such as gunboats and amphibious vehicles will play an important role in protecting Baga and environs and providing much-needed security in the Lake Chad region.
The importance of maritime capability led to the bolstering of the MNJTF 7 Brigade by a gunboat company of Nigerian Army’s amphibious forces in support of Nigerian Navy’s Lake Chad outpost.