In a bid to reduce crime in the nation’s territorial waters, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has commissioned five patrol boats into service.
This is coming barely a year after the First Lady, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan; and the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan commissioned NNS THUNDER and NNS ANDONI, respectively.
The boats, three OCEA and two SHALGDAD were jointly commissioned by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and Minister of State for Defense, Erelu Olusola Obada.
While commissioning the boats at the Western Naval base in Apapa, Okonjo-Iweala assured the Navy of government’s commitment towards enhancing maritime security in the country, even as she urge the service to ensure the productive use of the assets just acquired.
In her words “All we are asking them is to see results; what they are doing to reduce illegal oil theft. When you see results, you are now encouraged to put in more money behind the acquisition of vessels like these.”
In her opening remarsk, Obada stated that the acquisition of the five boats are part of government’s effort to reposition the Navy for enhanced operational effectiveness.
She noted that in spite of the challenges confronting the Navy, the service should be in a position to increase maritime security in the nation’s territorial waters with the five additional fleets.
“I am aware of the constraints militating against the Nigerian Navy’s efforts to optimally discharge its statutory duties, especially in the security of the maritime domain. It is however gladdening to note that in spite of the existing challenges, the Nigerian Navy has continued to do its best in safe guarding the nation’s maritime assets,” she said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba, pointed out that the latest acquisition to the NN fleet will go a long way in checkmating illegal activities of crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
“The addition of these boats to the Navy fleet in our territorial waters will go a long way in keeping faith with our desire to ensure significant reduction in crude oil theft and checkmating the menace of sea robbery and piracy in our waters,” he said.
Ezeoba, however, appealed to the Federal government for the acquisition of more patrol boats.
According to him, the NN would require a minimum of 40 of this class of boats in order to dominate the vast expanse of the nation’s territorial waters, if the service is to combat the current emerging security challenges in our maritime environment.
The event attracted several dignitaries, including the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola’Saad Ibrahim; Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Chris Anyanwu; Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar; representative of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Assistant Comptroller-General, Victor Gbemudu; and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.
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