Nigerian Navy receives China’s 46-m patrol boat donation to strengthen safe, secure maritime domain
…As China seeks more technology-driven cooperation for economic development
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, on Friday said that China’s donation of a 46-metre patrol boat to Nigeria would further boost a safe and secure maritime environment for economic activities.
He stated this in his opening remark at the joint handing over and receiving ceremony of the patrol boat and military hardware to the Nigerian Armed Forces by the Chinese Government, at the NNS Beecroft Parade Ground in Apapa, Lagos.
Gambo said: “I am delighted that today’s donation of this 46-metre patrol vessel to the Nigerian Navy marks another milestone in the bilateral collaboration between our two countries, and also attests to the People’s Republic of China’s willingness and resilience to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.”
The CNS recalled that China had made similar donations some years ago, in addition to Nigeria’s acquisition of some patrol boats from China.
“Pertinently, the support from the People’s Republic of China which started years ago, towards enhancing capability of the Nigerian Navy to bolster presence within the maritime domain has been tremendous.
“It will be recalled that as part of the fleet recapitalization efforts through the uncommon support of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal of Nigeria, the Nigerian Navy acquired 2 x 95.6m Offshore Patrol Vessels from China; These are NNS CENTENARY and UNITY, which joined the Nigerian Navy Fleet in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
“Sequel to these acquisitions, a 46m Patrol Vessel, NNS SAGBAMA, was donated by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to support Nigerian Navy operations.”
Gambo expressed his joy that those vessels in the Nigerian Navy’s fleet “have been able to enhance the Navy’s maritime security operations efforts, which significantly reduced piracy within Nigeria’s maritime domain as well as the Gulf of Guinea and eventually culminated in delisting Nigeria from the list of Piracy Prone Countries this year by the International Maritime Bureau.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd.), represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar Kana, said that the patrol boat would further boost socio-economic development for enhanced national security.
His words: “With the support and donation of equipment and platforms from strategic partners like the People’s Republic of China, capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would be further improved.
“These will no doubt boost socio-economic development for enhanced national security as well as regional stability. This means that the impact of this donated equipment will not only be felt in Nigeria, but in the West Africa Sub region, as well as the continent of Africa.”
Speaking also, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Cui Jian Chun, who signed the document for the handing over of the boat, described the occasion as one furthering both countries’ bilateral relations.
The Ambassador said it was important that Nigeria and China built economic cooperation to support Nigeria’s quest to eradicate poverty just as China had been able to do.
He told the gathering that his proposed Growth Development and Progress (GDP) backed by a political will focuses on strategic priority areas to make desired impact.
“China as a country, we have eradicated absolute poverty, Nigerian we would want to share with you can the idea turn this to achieve this great goals. So, economic sector is really important. And the prioritised areas are infrastructure, industry, ICT, investment and import and export,” Mr.Cui said.
Speaking on combating insecurity in Nigeria, the Chinese Ambassador said he would want both countries to cooperate and use technology to drive the dream, while equipment would be built and human resources capacity developed to turn the ideas into desired outcomes.
“I want to highlight the military and the security sectors. I believe the two countries can work together in the following aspects; technology, because technology-driven dream is not only for Chinese people, but also for Nigerian Armed Forces. So, technical things are very important for the two countries.
“Second, we need state-of-the-art equipment to equip our military. We also need the human resources- that means how to sought ideas to build the qualified, sufficient and creative human resources,” the Chinese Ambassador said.
He also believes in developing surveillance, intelligence, weapon, command and control centre to fight against terrorism and piracy.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral YB Wambai, said that recapitalising the Nigerian Navy fleet at this time when contemporary maritime security environment has thrown up dimensions of threats, would enable the navy effectively confront and mitigate such problems.
He said: “Today’s event comes at a good time, while appreciating operational fleet recapitalisation trajectory of the Nigerian Navy, it is noteworthy to state therefore that with this addition to the Nigerian Navy’s fleet and those in the offing as well as other recent acquisitions both in aviation and surface platforms, the Nigerian Navy is now better-enabled and poised to perform its constitutional roles.”
Admiral Wambai was confident that the development would further serve as boost for him and his team at the Western Naval Command as he said: “For me and my team in the Western Naval Command, it gives us the much-needed balance to carry out various mission tasks, so we count ourselves privileged as naval personnel to have this latest entrant to the Nigerian Navy fleet.”