The House of Representatives, on Tuesday promised to give the Nigerian Navy priority attention in the 2017 budget in order to boost her capacity towards tackling the 21st century security challenges in the maritime domain.
The chairman, House of Representatives committee on Navy, Hon. Abdulssamad Dasuki, disclosed this while addressing newsmen shortly after members of the committee toured facilities at the Eastern Naval Command in Calabar.
He decried the dilapidated state of some of the platforms found on ground, assuring that the House will; through the required legislative frame work, ensure that the navy acquires more modern gunboats and ships.
While expressing the House’s readiness to support the manufacturing of local gunboats in Nigeria, Dasuki said “The FOC is doing a tremendous job irrespective of the meager resources at his disposal.
“We have gone round and have seen things for ourselves and it is an unfortunate situation whereby the Nigerian navy is securing the maritime domain and doesn’t have enough platforms.
“We need to upgrade their jetty to meet the 21st century challenges. Apart from that, we are also looking at the ships and gunboats; there is a need to overhaul them and get them more modern boats. Luckily enough, here in Nigeria, we have seen local gun boats being manufactured and we would keep on encouraging them from our own side, by giving them all the necessary support; the legislative framework to make them succeed.
“With what we have seen, we would ensure that the navy is adequately catered for, in the 2017 budget”, he said.
In his remarks, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, thanked the House Committee for considering a tour of the command in its oversight function, expressing optimism that the visit would bring about the needed change.
Oluwole listed some of the challenges the command is currently grappling with to include; inadequate platforms, accommodation among others.
The FOC, however, said the challenges were not enough to deter the command from discharging its duties diligently.
While fielding questions from newsmen, the FOC said, “There are challenges here, but we always have opportunities in challenges and this is one of the opportunities we have; for the House of Representatives committee on navy to visit us.
“It can never be overemphasized that we need more platforms,” he said.
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