Determined to boost the capacity of the navy to tackle security challenges in Nigeria’s maritime domain, the House of Representatives has provided for an increase in the budget of the agency.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Navy, Mr. AbdulSamad Dasuki disclosed this to journalists shortly after an inspection of the Nigerian Navy Shipyard, Victory in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State in the south.
Dasuki, who was accompanied by other members of the committee to the Eastern Naval Command, commended the officers and ratings for their loyalty, integrity and commitment to duty despite deplorable facilities.
According to Dasuki, “it is an unfortunate situation whereby the Nigerian navy is securing the maritime domain and does not have enough capabilities and capacities. Yes, they have it in the men, but the effort being put in to make sure they sustain that is not there.”
He noted “as a committee, we need to make a case for the Nigerian Navy to be better empowered. The jetties need to be upgraded to meet the 21st century challenges. These platforms are obsolete and should no longer be used”.
He expressed the readiness of the committee to support to local production of gunboats for the navy, saying “we also looked at the ships and gunboats; there is need to overhaul them and get them modern boats. Luckily for us we have seen local gunboats being manufactured. We will give them more support”.
The Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Calabar, Rear Admiral James Oluwole described the visit of the legislators as a sign of better concern for the navy.
Oluwole expressed the hope that with the support of the legislature, the challenges of inadequate platforms and welfare of personnel would be addressed.
He said “we need more and adequate platforms to tackle the threats we face. We need more gunboats and capital ships because we have different layers of defence. The backwaters require different asserts, beyond the territorial waters also require asserts like the offshore patrol vessel.”
“As we speak, an offshore patrol vessel is on its way from China that is going to suppress some of the threats along our waterways. Accommodation is another challenge, but with on-going efforts and legislative support, we will get it done”, he added.
The legislators departed for continued oversight functions at the Western Naval Command and will be expected back to the Eastern Naval Command where the gunboats factory and Nigerian Navy Shipyard Pathfinder would be inspected.