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At 12th Nigerian Navy Games Buhari urges Nigerians to believe in military’s capability to safeguard collective interest

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday urged Nigerians to trust in the military’s capability to protect the nation’s common interest.

The president stated this while giving the keynote address at the opening of  the 12th edition of the Nigerian Navy  Games.

Buhari also unveiled the ultra-modern Nigerian Navy Sports Complex, venue of the Games at the Navy Town in Ojo Lagos.

Speaking, Buhari said: “Let me assure Nigerians that the armed forces would continue to sustain their operational tempo to contain the security challenges in the country.

“Plans are on to ensure that the security agencies put appropriate measures in place to secure the country despite challenges.”

He added: “I want Nigerians to believe in the capability of the armed forces to provide the needed strategies in place to safeguard our collective interest.”

While encouraging fair play among participants in the three-day sports celebration, the President said the event could actually enable the Navy take stock of the level of preparedness of its personnel since all the Commands of the Nigerian Navy were participating.

In his welcome address, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, expressed fulfilment that the 12th Nigerian Navy Games was holding at the new Sports Complex, describing it as “dream come true.”

He recounted how the facility should have been commissioned since 2020, but for the Covid-19 lockdown.

“This ultra-modern edifice was conceptualised and constructed by the immediate past chief of the Naval staff, Vice Admiral Ebok-Ete Ekwe Ibas(Rtd).

“His plan was to invite the President to commission the Complex at the end of 2020. However, the commissioning could not be actualized due to restrictions imposed by covid-19 pandemic. Today   we give glory to the Almighty God that the Complex is being commissioned by no other person than the President t of our great country,” Gambo said.

Speaking about the institutionalisation of the Navy Games, the CNS said it was informed by recognition of the demands for physical fitness and mental alertness of personnel as key considerations for armed forces to meet increasing demands of current operations s environment.

He praised the commitment of the Nigerian Navy Volleyball Team named Chief of Naval Staff Spikers, which though new, was able to make its presence known.

“Out of 37 volleyball teams, made up of 21 make and 16 female teams, the Chief of Naval Staff male Spikers had an unbeatable record and won the championship, while the female team won the silver medal for female category.  And for the first time in 38 years, a military team represented Nigerian at an international competition.”

On the Navy’s operational performance, the CNS thanked President Buhari for prompt attention to their request for acquisition of facilities. He said the situation has helped to build the navy’s capacity to protect significant economic facilities, particularly in the fight against oil theft, piracy and other crimes at sea.

He said: “My deepest gratitude goes to President Muhammad Buhari, for his unquantifiable support to the Nigerian Navy; The President within the last year approved the acquisition of two 76m High Endurance Offshore Patrol Vessels and three helicopters to join the recently acquired hydrographical survey  ship and Landing Ship Transport, including numerous fast attack craft to boost maritime security.

“These Interventions from the federal government have enhanced the Nigerian Navy’s institutional capacity to protect the resources for the wellbeing of Nigerians and economic prosperity of our great nation.”

Unveiling of the Sports Complex and opening ceremony of the 12th Navy Games by President Buhari was witnessed by top military officers, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu,  Royal fathers,  the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh,  Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Mohammed Bello-Koko among many others.

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