*The making of the ships…
By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent, Lagos/
LAGOS- PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Lagos, commended the Nigerian Nay NN for its relentless fight against all manners of crimes and criminality on the nation’s territorial maritime domain including the gulf of Guinea; saying it’s a major contributor to the country’s economic wellbeing.
The President dropped the commendation at the Naval Dockyard on Victoria Island Lagos, during the commissioning and induction ceremony of the locally constructed Seaward Defence Boat-SDB III and the keel laying ceremony for SDB IV and SDB V and several other boats.
A visibly delighted President Buhari said he was proud of the Nigerian Navy in it relentless efforts towards ensuring a safer maritime environment adding that the federal government would continue to support the ideal of the Nigerian Navy with a view to engendering optimum performance.
He said, “It gives me great pleasure to be here today to witness the commissioning ceremony of some recently acquired platforms as well as the commissioning of the indigenously constructed Seaward Defence Boat III and the keel laying ceremony for the construction of Boat-IV and Boat-V.
“It is gratifying to see that this array of platforms would shortly be inducted into the inventory of the Navy fleet. This would no doubt boost the capability of the Navy in securing Nigeria’s maritime domain. The significance of the commissioning of these platforms today cannot be overemphasized. I am also delighted to note that one of the ships to be commissioned today, NNS OJI; which is a Seaward Defence Boat, is the third of its series to be locally built at the Naval Dockyard Limited, Lagos solely by our Navy engineers.
*At the parade ground…
“I commend the Navy’s effort at maintaining a steady course in its drive for local content development which is in tandem with the philosophy of our administration. Furthermore, the Federal Government’s commitment to properly equip the Navy with the right mix of platforms has seen the Service take delivery of NNS LANA in May this year from France.
Continuing, President Muhammadu Bahuri added, “I commend the business dependability of Messrs OCEA Shipyard – France, the builders of our Navy’s first ever purpose built Offshore Survey Vessel for a conclusive and successful execution of the contract. Local partners should share in this commendation for their efforts at local facilitation as outlined in the Government’s local content policy.
“The Federal Government is aware of the Navy’s dedication towards ensuring the security of the vast oil and gas industry in the nation’s maritime environment as well as our sea lanes of communications.
“Given our present high dependence on oil and gas revenues, the Navy is undeniably a major contributor to the economic well-being of our country. Arrests of those involved in illegalities have yielded results as some pirates; illegal bunkering syndicates, pipeline vandals and other miscreants have been convicted during this year.
“Such successes were made possible through the enforcement of our new anti-piracy law on Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act 2019. Furthermore, the provision of the new policy directives by the current administration of the Navy codified in such documents as the Nigerian Navy Strategic Plan 2021-2030; the Chief of the Naval Staff Strategic Directive 2021-5 and the Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy have given the Service credible guidelines and leverage for improved operational efficiency.
“I therefore commend the Navy’s efforts in the fight against maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea region. Again, I congratulate our Navy under the able leadership of the Chief of Naval Staff – Vice Admiral AZ Gambo and all the officers, ratings and civilian staff of the Navy for these remarkable achievements.
“I hereby commission and induct these platforms into the Nigerian Navy fleet as well as perform the keel laying ceremony for the local construction of SDB IV and SDB V respectively.
*One of the newly inducted helicopters…
I strongly believe that the newly built and recently acquired platforms will greatly bolster the efforts of the Service in securing Nigeria’s Maritime Environment.
“Today, as we commission the Nigerian Navy Ships OJI, LANA, KANO, IKENNE, ABA, SOKOTO and OSUN, I charge all personnel to ensure that professionalism is maintained and good use of these platforms. We should note that we are in a critical period where our country is faced with a serious decline in our revenue and the security challenges we are facing.
“The present realities therefore call for prudent resource management, innovativeness, accountability and careful maintenance. I wish to reiterate that despite these challenges, our administration is very determined to ensure that the Navy is well supported to achieve its statutory responsibilities.”
Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, CNS Vice Admiral AZ Gambo in his address of welcome, had expressed appreciation for the presence of Mr. President and members of the National Assembly, the two governors of Lagos and Ogun other dignitaries including Service Chiefs and traditional rulers present at the occasion saying that the commission marked a miles tone in the annals of the Nigerian Navy.
Admiral Gambo assured that the inducted fleets would be put to adequate use to security the nation’s territorial waters including the gulf Guinea adding, “I am glad to state that today’s event marks another milestone in the history of the Nigerian Navy as we gather to witness the commissioning ceremony of some recently acquired Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC) and Fast Patrol Boats (FPB) of various categories as well as the commissioning of the locally constructed Seaward Defence Boat-SDB III and the keel laying ceremony for SDB IV and SDB V.
“The Special Guest of Honour Sir, I am delighted to notify that the Naval Dockyard Limited SDB Project which started in 2007 has yielded substantial reward with the completion of the third Seaward Defence Boat. Thus, in line to my Vision, “To leverage on all factors of national location, technology, training, teamwork and synergy to re-energise the NN as a well motivated and ready naval force in the discharge of her Constitutional mandate”, the Service intends to raise the bar by embarking on the construction of 2 SDBs
“Evidently, with the experience garnered so far, the Naval Dockyard Limited is adequately poised to take on this challenge in Pursuit of the FGN’s Local Content Development effort. The NN therefore avails itself of this unique opportunity to humbly request Mr President to lay the keel for the commencement of the construction of SDB IV and SDB V. I reassure that with your continued support to the NN, these vessels shall be delivered as scheduled.
“Notably, one of the ships to be commissioned today, the Hydrographic Ship NNS LANA was received from her maiden voyage from France to Nigeria on 17 May 21. NNS LANA will be involved in the hydrographic survey of our territorial waters towards ensuring safety of navigation within our waterways while SDBIII, Inshore Patrol Crafts (IPC) and Fast Patrol Boats (FPB) namely: NNS ABA, NNS KANO, NNS IKENNE, NNS SOKOTO and NNS OSUN will be deployed for surveillance and patrol duties within our waters.
These efforts are geared towards enhancing the performance of our constitutional role regarding hydrographic survey and policing of our waters. Invariably, the induction of these platforms into the NN fleet will lead to further decline in criminal activities in our Maritime Domain. I will like to assure you all that these assets will be adequately maintained to sustain our maritime security operations.”
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