The Nigerian Navy has commissioned 39 locally made gun boats alongside 45 operational vehicles to combat militancy in the nation.
The Minister of Defence, Mohammad Dan-Ali, while doing the commissioning, said the emerging security challenges in the Nigeria had great consequences on the North East and the Niger Delta region.
Home grown solutions
“These challenges have continued to demand a great deal of human and material resources, which in the light of dwindling revenue would be sustainable only with generous innovations and incorporation of home grown solutions… Their availability has helped to stem the tide of criminal activities in the area.
Encouraged by the success of the venture, the contract for a further 50 was immediately awarded which has yielded the additional 30 boats being launched today and the remaining 20 will be delivered subsequently,” he said.
The Minister said the boats were fitted with appropriate weapons, better antiballistic protection and other facilities which were improvements on the promise made by their precursors.
“I am hopeful that the boats being launched today would further boost the ongoing patrol efforts in the various rivers and creeks of the country to the immense benefit of the nation’s maritime security,” he said.
The minister thanked the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his continual support and committment to the navy and armed forces.
However, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas said the Epenal boats were an improvement on 30 others unveiled in Port Harcourt in February.
“These boats no doubt, have boosted navy maritime operations. As part of the efforts to continue to achieve unchallenged dominance of our maritime environment, the navy within a space of six months has launched another 39 specially built patrol boats into her fleet… the boats will be deployed optimally by various relevant navy units,” Ibas said.
The senate committee for the navy Senator Isa Aman-Isa said the committee was doing everything possible to ensure the navy gets the necessary resources to tackle maritime insecurity to the fullest.
The Minister was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of defence, Danjuma Sheni who did the commissioning at the Naval Dockyard Limited and Western Naval Command, Lagos.
Also present at the commissioning was the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin and other top military personnel.