The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibot-Ete Ekwe Ibas said that for incidences of maritime crimes including sea piracy, oil theft and pipeline vandalism to be effectively tackled, the Nigerian Navy would need additional operational vessels.
Ibas said this during a budget defence with the House of Representatives committee on navy.
He explained that while the Navy has been discharging its statutory responsibilities of safeguarding the nation’s territorial waters, the challenges of resource theft and pipeline vandalism abounds.
“To effectively tackle these, the Navy needs adequate budgetary provision to acquire additional operational vessels”.
The chairman of the committee on Navy, Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, earlier in the hearing, noted that the Nigerian Navy was of very paramount in the economy of the country and assured that the committee would offer it all the required legislative support to carry out its responsibility of tackling the menace of piracy, oil theft, bunkering and other maritime-related crimes.
Gagdi urged on the naval authorities to be transparent in their activities to avoid any gridlock with the committee disclosing that the lawmakers would soon embark on a tour of all naval formations.
“As we look forward to undertaking familiarisation tour of naval formations across the country in the exercise of our oversight functions in no distant future, I call on the naval authorities to be transparent in their dealings to forestall the possibility of any gridlock with the committee.
“This committee is willing and ready to with the Navy as partners in progress for optimal productivity, but we shall not hesitate to wield the big stick where you are found wanting”, he warned.
He said the committee “shall not renege on its sacred responsibility of providing the needed oversight on the activities of the Navy, but we shall have as our underlying principle, the idea of adding value to the Navy than being a clog in the wheel of progress by reason of unnecessary antagonism.
“We shall not misconstrue the concept of checks and balances to mean executive/legislative bickering, but we shall also, not fail to adhere strictly to rules and procedures in order to ensure that Nigeria and Nigerians are not shortchanged”, the chairman said.