The Nigerian Navy has restated its commitment to secure the nation’s economic maritime lifelines if adequate resources are provided.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas gave the assurance in a statement by Commodore Suleman Dahun, the Navy Director of Information on Thursday.
Dahun said that Ibas spoke at an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Navy. The naval chief said the service was capable of doing more to safeguard the nation’s maritime environment if necessary platforms and materials were provided.
Ibas acknowledged the financial constraints of the Federal Government but stressed that any expenditure on the service was an investment toward enhancing the nation’s economic and national development.
According to the CNS, with the support of the federal government, the service has been able to acquire offshore patrol vessels, fast attack craft and more than 300 riverine patrol crafts.
This, he said, had paid off with the arrest of over 200 vessels and hundreds of suspects for various maritime offences in the last four years. He that there were ongoing efforts to encourage operational training and indigenous shipbuilding capacity.
Ibas said the navy had contributed toward the protection of the nation’s hydrocarbon infrastructure and curbing resource theft at sea. He said the service did this through anti-piracy operations and anti-smuggling patrols which had limited the smuggling of prohibited items into the country.
“This has given a bite to the nation’s policy against illegal importation of rice and other contrabands with a successive decline in reported cases of pirate/sea robbery attacks within Nigeria’s maritime domain since 2015.’’
The CNS said in spite of those positive gains, there were challenges, including vastness of Nigeria’s maritime space and the current Nigerian navy platform holding. He said the platforms were inadequate to effectively protect the domain and its strategic resources.