…. Commends Navy for decline in piracy on Nigerian waters
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday disclosed that his administration engaged in the recapitalisation of the Nigerian Navy Fleet with about 20 capital ships acquired for the Nigerian Navy in his eight years in office to secure the nation’s maritime domain.
This is just as the President commissioned two naval ships and one new helicopter as part of activities to mark the 2023 Presidential Fleet Review organized in his honour.
The commissioned ships, NNS KADA and NNS IBENO are among the 16 Nigerian Navy Ships and three AW109E helicopters that participated in the Presidential Fleet review.
Others are three warships from Ghana, Italy and Spain as well as five helicopters and Super Tunaco aircrafts from the Nigerian Air Force.
Speaking at the event which had in attendance heads of foreign navies, President Buhari said the showcase of different types and classes of ships as well as helicopters symbolizes the nation’s maritime power and its preparedness to carry out the Navy’s constitutional roles.
“Also, the combat displays staged by elements of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service and a mix of the air assets from the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force were quite impressive.
“I expect this to translate into actual capability to dominate Nigeria’s maritime environment and secure the vast resources therein for the socio-economic development of our great country,” Buhari said.
He commended the Navy for putting the vessels into effective use noting that it had recorded successes in the fight against resource theft, counter drug operations and piracy.
He added that this has led to significant reduction in piracy over the past seven years, which culminated in delisting Nigeria from the list of piracy prone countries by the International Maritime Bureau in March 2022.
“There is an inextricable link between maritime security and economic prosperity. This is considering that our maritime environment serves both as a store house of resources as well as medium for maritime transport.
“Thus, the safe and secure utilisation of these resources for national prosperity in support of Nigeria’s Blue Economy aspirations is cardinal to the Nigerian Navy’s policing duties. Realising this, my administration vigorously engaged in the recapitalisation of the Nigerian Navy Fleet throughout my eight years in office. Accordingly, about 20 capital ships have been acquired for the Nigerian Navy.
“These ships comprise Offshore Patrol Vessels, Landing Ship Transport, Hydrographic Survey Vessels, Seaward Defence Boats and Helicopters as well as over 300 Inshore Patrol Vessels and Assault Craft.
“During this Fleet Review, I had the honour to commission a new helicopter NN410 manufactured in Italy, NNS KADA, a Landing Ship Transport, built in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and NNS IBENO, donated by the People’s Republic of China. I deeply appreciate the donation and mutual military cooperation with our ship building partner nations for their support, which has encouraged local ship building by the Nigerian Navy.
“Furthermore, application of technology to secure the maritime domain has supported intelligence driven deployment of these ships,” he said.
Buhari commended the arraignment and prosecution of MT HEROIC IDUN, following its arrest for attempting to load crude oil, offshore Bonny in August 2022 without authorization and efforts of Nigerian Navy in indigenous shipbuilding in line with the nation’s local content development plan, which he described as a great pride to the country.
“Our naval engineers were wholly responsible for building 3 Seaward Defence Boats namely NNS ANDONI, NNS KARADUWA and NNS OJI. In December 2021, I equally performed keel laying foundations for the construction of 2 Seaward Defence Boats, which will be ready by 2024. At this rate, I have no doubt that the Nigerian Navy will soon commence construction of larger ships for itself and other navies in the region and beyond.
“This achievement is a great pride to Nigeria and an impressive contribution to national development,” he said.
Buhari said the theme of the 2023 Fleet Review, “Fleet Readiness for National Prosperity” was carefully chosen to underscore the response capability of the Nigerian Navy to infringements in the nation’s maritime spaces and in the Gulf of Guinea towards attainment of national prosperity.”
President Buhari urged the incoming administration of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu to sustain the current tempo of his administration in giving the Nigerian Navy necessary support to effectively carry out its assigned tasks.
In his welcome address, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo,
explained that the2023 Presidential Fleet Review is unique because it was organized in honour of President Buhari for his unprecedented support for the Nigerian Navy in terms of fleet recapitalization, infrastructural development and personnel welfare, which boosted officers’ morale and fighting efficiency.
The review, he said, is also designed to mark the culmination of Mr. President’s eight– year tenure in office.
Gambo noted that the recapitalization of the fleet has enhanced the Nigerian Navy maritime security framework and repositioned it to effectively combat maritime crimes.
““There is no better evidence to show than the record of drastic decline in piracy incidents in Nigerian waters as contained in the International Maritime Bureau Global Piracy Report of 14 July 2021.
“This culminated in delisting Nigeria from the International Maritime Bureau List of Piracy prone countries in March last year. These achievements are attributable to sustained presence of Nigerian Navy ships at sea, increased regional and international synergy as well as active maritime domain awareness,” he said.
To further bolster Nigerian Navy maritime security operations efforts, the CNS disclosed that the President had approved acquisition of additional vessels as well as several air assets.
” Currently under construction are 2 by 76m High Endurance Offshore Patrol Vessels in Turkey, 3 by 45m Fast Patrol Boats in France and 2 by Augusta Westland helicopters amongst others.
“Undoubtedly, the transformation of the Nigerian Navy within the 8 years of Mr President’s tenure in office has repositioned the Navy for better service delivery and actualization of its constitutional mandate”.
“As the administration draws the curtain on 29 May 2023, let me once again sincerely thank our amiable President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for his unwavering commitment and tremendous support towards maintaining a well-equipped navy that Nigerians can be proud
“May I also use this opportunity to acknowledge support of our friendly navies for the synergy and cooperation in tackling maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea in line with the Yaoundé Accord. Your presence in our midst today is a testament to this cooperation,” he said