The Chief of Naval Staff says the maritime security of the country is also not guaranteedThe Chief of Naval Staff says the maritime security of the country is also not guaranteed

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Sa’ad Ibrahim, on Thursday said that Nigeria’s maritime security and economic development are under serious threats due to the inadequate presence of Nigerian Navy at sea.

He said that the Nigerian Navy was faced with steep operational decline arising from aged fleet, and obsolete and decaying support infrastructure that made it almost impossible to check the threats.

Ibrahim, who disclosed this at a seminar in Abuja to mark the Navy Week, maintained that the Nigerian Navy had not regained the lost glory of its humble beginning and the formidable regional maritime powers of the 70’s and 80’s that gave the country pride.

He declared that regrettably, “the Nigerian Navy is today on a steep operational decline due to numerous challenges… conversely, emerging maritime security challenges like piracy, pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, militancy and threats of terrorist attacks on the nation’s critical offshore installations are on the rise daily and assuming unprecedented sophistication and dimension, largely due to inadequate presence of the NN at sea.”

The Chief of Naval Staff said there was urgent need to reposition the Navy, to enable her rise to the occasion and nip existing and emerging threats in the bud before they assume catastrophic dimensions with huge attendant costs in human and material losses.

While drawing attention to the grave situation, CNS warned that “we must not forget that Nigeria derives about 90 percent of her foreign exchange earnings from oil and gas in our maritime environment.” 

The import, he added, was that other developments, including the Vision 20:20:20 and the Transformation Agenda, largely depended on the resources from the maritime environment.

In his opening address, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, noted the various efforts to reposition the Nigerian Navy by successive governments. He said as commendable as they were, “there are still existing gaps in the current asset holding, despite the efforts.”

According to Mark, who spoke through Senator Ayogu Eze, “The decline began in the early 90’s when Western nations imposed economic and military sanctions on Nigeria as a result of protracted military rule. Thus, it was impossible to procure essential spare parts for Navy platforms or carry out major refits of several ships abroad.”

The senator said it was worrisome that Nigeria’s multibillion dollar offshore investments like the Bonga and Agbami oil exploration and exploitation projects remained inadequately protected due to insufficient platforms.

“We cannot continue to turn blind eyes to the plight of the Nigerian Navy because, by doing so, we would seriously undermine our national security and economic prosperity,” he added.

He assured that the National Assembly would do all that is constitutionally and morally right to improve the Nigerian Navy.

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