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Nigerian Navy @ 68: Tinubu commissions 3 warships, 2 helicopters to strengthen maritime security

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday commissioned three warships and two helicopters as part of the 68th anniversary of the Nigerian Navy.

Speaking during the event which took place at the Naval Dockyard on Victoria Island, Lagos, Tinubu said the assets would further boost efforts of the navy in its fight and protection of the nation’s maritime domain while also ensuring regional collaborations as well as with other friendly navies around the world.

The president appreciated the theme of the programme “Promoting the Blue Economy in Africa through International Cooperation on Maritime Security” as it encapsulates the major objective of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, the Vision of Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 and a key target of Africa’s Agenda 2063.

He recognised the importance of a protected maritime environment in a bid to ensuring sustainability of the Blue Economy, which has been projected to generate about $405 billion for the African continent and to create millions of jobs.

His words: “Our continent is very rich and endowed with living and non-living resources, having vast strategic economic resources in her blue economy. A secured maritime environment, one that is free from threats such as piracy or other criminal activities is essential for the sustainability of Africa’s blue economy.

“Significantly, the blue economy is estimated to be worth more than US $1.5 trillion per year globally and projected to increase to US $15.5 trillion by 2050. The “Africa Blue Economy Strategy” estimates that the blue economy currently generates nearly US $300 billion for the continent, creating 49 million jobs in the process. The Africa Blue Economy is projected to hit US $405 billion by 2030.”

The president who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, reiterated his administration’s support for the navy just as he gave his support regarding the navy’s collaborative efforts to further boost the maritime domain security.

“It is very appropriate to state categorically that any collaborative initiative by the Nigerian Navy to build partnerships across African navies and Coast Guards is in the right direction.

“Let me affirm that this event comes at a critical period when Nigeria faces multifaceted security challenges. It therefore calls for improvement in security conditions required to significantly raise the contribution of the marine and blue economy sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Notwithstanding the challenges of the moment, I am glad to reiterate that my administration is determined to ensure that the Nigerian Navy is supported to achieve its statutory responsibilities,” President Tinubu said.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, said regional and continent-wide initiatives such as the Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050 and the 2013 Yaounde Declaration, which established the Code of Conduct, Memorandum of Understanding and Protocols for collective maritime security initiative for member states of the Gulf of Guinea were testaments to the political level commitment to security and developmental imperatives in the Continent’s maritime domain.

The CNS shared with his audience on the navy’s maritime security efforts that:“ On its part, the Nigerian Navy has rejigged its maritime security operations to ensure protection of Nigeria’s Blue Economy in accordance with her statutory mandate. In line with its 2021 – 2030 strategic plans, the Nigerian Navy embarked on fleet recapitalization, manpower development, indigenous shipbuilding efforts and strategic partnership to secure Nigeria’s maritime domain and by extension, the Gulf of Guinea region.”

Ogalla added that “Recently, the Nigerian Navy Hydrography Department was upgraded to the National Hydrographic Agency. This is with a view to improving charting and seabed mapping of Nigeria’s maritime domain. The Nigerian Navy’s Naval Dockyard Limited has also embarked on ship repair efforts and trainings for our friendly navies.  For instance, the Naval Dockyard is carrying out extensive repairs of 6 Benin Republic naval ships.”

In his goodwill message, the Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Bello Matawalle, expressed confidence that the deliberations during the conference would “produce innovative ways to improve on our professionalism and efficiency. This would translate to a secure maritime environment for the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria and all seafarers to conduct legitimate business for economic prosperity and national development.”

Also giving his goodwill message, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his deputy, Femi Hamzat , lauded the professionalism and commitment to service by the naval officers, to protecting the nation’s blue economy resources.

His words: “Today, we reflect on the significant strides the Nigerian Navy has made in safeguarding our nation’s waters, protecting our maritime resources, and ensuring the safety and security of maritime activities.

“The Nigerian Navy’s dedication and bravery have been pivotal in combating piracy, smuggling, and other maritime threats, contributing to the peace and stability of our region. This event also commemorates our rich maritime heritage, and highlights the crucial role that the maritime industry plays in our nation’s development; and our State’s strategic significance in the Maritime Industry both locally and internationally.”

The CNS had earlier disclosed that the Regional Maritime Exercise (REMEX) flagged of by the Special Guest of Honour, the President, would involve 17 ships, which includes ships of five friendly navies from Brazil, China, Cameroun, Ghana and Togo participating in the Exercise.


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