Navy to open up dockyard for maximum utilisation

The Nigerian Navy yesterday expressed readiness to open up its dockyard for use by stakeholders in the maritime industry for maximum utilisation.

The Director of Naval Information, Commodore Chris Ezekobe, made the disclosure during a courtesy visit to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

“There are certain things the dockyard has that are yet to be keyed into by the Nigerian public because the capacity of the dockyard is beyond the Navy itself,” he said.

Ezekobe said it was based on this thrust that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, expressed the Navy’s determination to ensure maximum utilisation of the facility.

“We have a foundry plant, the galvanizing plant and various precision workshops within the naval dockyard. We have a carpentry workshop so the dockyard is a big concept.

“It’s good that our founding fathers thought about it but we must engage beyond the navy as well as other maritime stakeholders to key into the dockyard so that it can be fully utilised,” the naval spokesman said.

According to him, the dockyard has built a seaward defence boat, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Andoni, while the second seaward defence boat, a 39-metre boat, is under construction.

“Various levels of repairs are ongoing at the dockyard including NNS Yola and NNS Brass, which are being refitted,” he said.

Ezekobe said that the dockyard was contributing its quota to enhancing the Navy’s operational efficiency and had the capacity to create jobs for young Nigerians as well as generate revenue.

“The only thing is that the capacity of the dockyard itself is, so to speak, underutilised because the dockyard is a state-of-the-art dockyard,” he said.

He also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a naval command post in the Lake Chad region in a bid to strengthen the fight against insurgency in the Northeast.

“There is a presidential directive to set up a command post in the Lake Chad Region and that is ongoing,” he said.

According to him, naval personnel for the command post are currently undergoing training in the North East and will be deployed once it becomes operational.

Ezekobe said that the navy had three categories of forces working in the Northeast.

He said that the navy had acquired 30 repellent boats and was expecting 50 more by the end of May to enhance security in the Niger Delta Region.

According to him, this will make it difficult for the criminals to operate in that domain.

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