By Sunny A ijomah
The Council Chairman of Ogbaru Local Government Area, Hon. Arinzechukwu Awogu received in audience, the new Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy, Onitsha, Navy Capt. Adekunle K. Okeniyi who took over from Capt. Udoh Udoh.
The visit also witnessed the introduction of Sub-Lieutenant JF Enubiak to the Council Chairman as the new Information Officer of the Navy following the transfer of Lt IM Okiwelu.
Capt. Okeniyi who said that the visit aside being a familiarization visit was to reciprocate the earlier visit made to the Base by the the Council Chairman, assuring of the Nigerian Navy’s continuous support in the internal security of the area.
The Council Chairman, Hon. Arinzechukwu Awogu who received the Commanding Officer in company of some Ogbaru stakeholders said that Ogbaru Local Government Area has been a supportive and friendly host to the Navy and made case for the Naval Base to reflect the name of the area where it is located.
He also touched on other issues like the oil activities going on in Ogbaru by SEEPCO, the activities of cult groups, the attacks on the Naval Outposts and sister security agencies, the long queues at Navy check points along Onitsha-Atani Road among other topical issues.
The Council Chairman was quoted as saying: “I want to use this medium to congratulate and to welcome you to Ogbaru Local Government Area as the new Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy with its base located in Odekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State.
“Recall that on my visit to your office at the Base two weeks ago, I re-echoed the sentiment and appeal made by the people of Ogbaru through my office during your predecessor’s courtesy visit to my office wherein I did request on behalf of the people of Ogbaru that you use your good offices to correct the anomaly in the naming of the Naval Base “Onitsha Naval Base.
“The Naval Base, which you superintendent as its Commanding Officer is from all available evidence situated in a Community called Odekpe which is more than 10 killometers away from Onitsha.
“The Odekpe Community for the records has no land or water boundaries with Onitsha as they are separated by other Communities and settlments. It thus beats the imagination of Odekpe and Ogbaru people how Onitsha could be used as the name of the Base.
“The people of Ogbaru having expressed strong reservations and disdain, view the naming of the Base, “Onitsha Naval Base,” as an attempt at annexation. As it’s unacceptable to the people for a Naval Base situated several killometers from Onitsha, for which people of Odekpe ceded their farm lands and ancestral possessions to now deny them the simple honor of having the Naval Base bear the name of the area is irreconcilable and have thus requested that it be changed.
“It is my humble request that you consider this harmless request for a speedy correction, and to have the Base named “Nigerian Navy Base, Ogbaru,” Hon. Awogu stressed.
The Council Chairman cited instances where names of Naval Base were changed after realizing errors in the choice of name and said that the request of Ogbaru people has got legitimacy and thus should be corrected.
The visiting Commanding Officer assured that having listened and received written submissions from the Council Chairman that his office will take a stronger look at the request.