The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on the Navy, Honourable Yusuf Gagdi has assured that the Committee will assiduously do everything within its constitutional powers to assist the Nigerian Navy (NN) to reach enviable heights and to perform optimally. Honourable Gagdi stated this while delivering his speech when the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas and Principal Staff Officers of the NHQ appeared before the Committee to defend its 2021 budget proposal. The Committee Chairman maintained that they were not oblivious of the operations of the NN including its strengths and weaknesses and will make recommendations that will chart a new pathway for articulating robust measures that would be taken by both the Legislature and the Executive towards improving on the performance of the NN.
While presenting a brief on the NN 2020 budget implementation and 2021 budget proposal, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas submitted that notwithstanding her military roles, the NN in the last 2 decades has been mainly pre-occupied with her constabulary or policing roles in the face of multi-dimensional maritime threats, especially from crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism and piracy as well as internal security breaches, and asymmetric threats in the form of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, amongst others. He said that to effectively tackle these threats in the nation’s interest, the NN needs to budget for the acquisition of appropriate platforms, equipment and infrastructure without ignoring personnel welfare. He added that although the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) had in recent times boosted the renewal of NN’s Fleet with some major platforms, additional operating vessels were required to enhance the navy’s presence at sea in defence of Nigeria’s maritime interests and sustain ongoing efforts against crude oil theft and other maritime related crimes.
The CNS maintained that the NN has also expanded its sphere of influence in response to rising security challenges, by establishing new bases across the country as well as entering into bilateral and multilateral relations with countries in the West African sub-region. Also, he added that regional maritime security initiatives like the deployment of NN personnel at the Multi-National Maritime Coordination Centre in Benin Republic are being sustained while plans are at an advanced stage to operationalize the Nigeria-Equatorial Guinea Combined Maritime Policing and Security Patrol Committee for security of the joint maritime borders of both countries. Other international commitments, he listed, include the deployment of personnel to the African Union Headquarters Addis Ababa as well as various staff officers to 9 peace support missions under the auspices of the United Nations, ECOWAS and AU. He asserted also that on the domestic scene, various joint operations with sister Services such as OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE, OPERATION AWATSE, OPERATION DELTA SAFE, OPERATIONAL WHIRL STROKE, OPERATION WHIRL PUNCH and OPERATION SAFE HAVEN have been undertaken by the Service with sustenance of vital single Service operations such as OPERATION RIVER SWEEP, OPERATION TSARE TEKU as well as the Choke Point Control Regime.
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