The Nigerian Navy has acquired 250 boats as well as other offshore patrol vessels and seaward defence boats in sustained fortification of its fleet to tackle oil theft and other maritime crimes in the Niger Delta.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, disclosed this in Onne, Rivers State, on Saturday during the passing out parade and commissioning of 200 cadet officers at the Nigerian Naval College, Onne.
“Nigerian Navy has matched intent with practical steps, evident by ongoing fleet expansion programme that has led to acquisition of several offshore patrol vessels, seaward defence boats and induction of over 250 riverine patrol boats.
“There has equally been substantial infrastructural and manpower development as well as forging of strategic collaborations with regional and more advanced navies. These efforts are targeted at enhancing the navy’s capacity to effectively secure the nation.
“In addition to assisting sister services in North East operations against Boko Haram insurgents, Nigerian Navy has continued to spearhead internal security operations in the Niger Delta against militants, pirates, operators of illegal refineries and oil thieves.
“Significant successes have been achieved by the Navy, alone or in collaboration with other security forces at curtailing excesses of these miscreants. Maintaining these successes will definitely be tasking and requires developing appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude on-the-job onboard and ashore as well as through pragmatic training in all naval training institutions,” he said.
Olonisakin urged the newly commissioned officers to justify the huge resources committed to their training and their personal sacrifices to make the Nigerian Navy proud.
“One way you can do this will be by drawing from the knowledge and competence gained from the college for your future assignments,” he said.