President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, commended the Nigerian Navy for its efforts in the fight against piracy in the nation’s maritime domain.
Mr Buhari spoke at the commissioning of some Nigerian Navy Ships (NNS), boats and helicopter at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island in Lagos.
The President noted that there had been improved security in the country’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the President commissioned NNS LANA, NNS ABA, NNS KANO, NNS IKENNE, NNS SOKOTO and NNS Oji, 111 boats and an Agusta Westland 139 helicopter.
Mr Buhari said he was particularly delighted to commission the NNS Oji, a Seaward Defence Boat, SDB, 3 because it was locally built by the Nigerian Navy engineers.
“I am delighted to witness the commissioning ceremony of some recently acquired platforms as well as the commissioning of the indigenously constructed SDB 3 and the keel-laying ceremony for the construction of SDB 4 and SDB 5.
“It is gratifying to see that this area of platforms would shortly be indebted in the inventory of the Nigerian Navy fleet.
“This will no doubt boost the capability of the navy in securing the Nigerian maritime domain,’’ he said.
President Buhari acknowledged the navy’s efforts towards securing the nation’s oil and gas industry in the maritime environment, as well as sea means of communications.
He described the Nigerian Navy as an undeniable major contributor to the economic well-being of the country, given “our present high dependence on oil and gas revenues.
“The arrest of those involved in illegalities has yielded results of some pirates, illegal bunkering syndicates, pipeline vandals and other miscreants being convicted during this year (2021).
“Such successes were made possible through enforcement of our new anti-piracy law on Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offensive Act 2019.
“Therefore, the significance of the commissioning of these platforms cannot be over-emphasised,’’ he said.
Mr Buhari said that the provision of the new policy directives of the navy had given the service credible guidelines and leverage for improved operational efficiency.
He noted that those directives were codified in such documents as the Nigerian Navy Strategic Plan 2021-2030; the Chief of the Naval Staff Strategic Directive 2021-2025 and the Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy.
The President charged the personnel to be professional and make good use of the platforms.
“We should note that we are in a critical period where our country is faced with a decline in our revenue and the security challenges we are facing.
“The present realities, therefore, calls for prudent resource management, innovativeness, accountability and careful maintenance,’’ he said.