Impressed with the efforts of the Nigerian Navy towards protecting the country’s Maritime territorial integrity, the House of Representatives Committee on Navy, has pledged to ensure an improved financial backing through increasing its budgetary allocations. The Committee’s Chairman, Honourable Yusuf Gagdi, dropped this hint recently during the 2021 budget proposal defence by the Navy. Gagdi, assured that the Committee will assiduously do everything within its constitutional powers to assist the Nigerian Navy (NN) to reach enviable heights and to perform optimally. Honourable Gagdi stated this while delivering his speech when the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas and Principal Staff Officers of the NHQ, appeared before the Committee to defend its 2021 budget proposal. He reiterated that his committee were not oblivious of the operations of the Navy, including its strengths and weaknesses and would make recommendations that will chart a new pathway for articulating robust measures that would be taken by both the Legislature and the Executive towards improving on the performance of the Navy.
Presenting a brief on the Navy’s 2020 budget implementation and 2021 budget proposal, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas submitted that notwithstanding her military roles, the Navy in the last 2 decades has been mainly pre-occupied with her constabulary or policing roles in the face of multi-dimensional maritime threats, especially from crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism and piracy as well as internal security breaches, and asymmetric threats in the form of counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism, amongst others. He said that to effectively tackle these threats in the nation’s interest, the Navy needs to budget for the acquisition of appropriate platforms, equipment and infrastructure without ignoring personnel welfare, adding that although the Federal Government of Nigeria , had in recent times boosted the renewal of Navy’s Fleet with some major platforms, additional operating vessels were required to enhance the navy’s presence at sea in defence of Nigeria’s maritime interests and sustain ongoing efforts against crude oil theft and other maritime related crimes.
Vice Admiral Ibas , maintained that the Navy has also expanded its sphere of influence in response to rising security challenges, by establishing new bases across the country as well as entering into bilateral and multilateral relations with countries in the West African sub-region. In a statement signed by Commodore Dahun, on behalf of the Chief of Naval Staff, he said that regional maritime security initiatives like the deployment of Naval personnel at the Multi-National Maritime Coordination Centre in Benin Republic are being sustained while plans are at an advanced stage to operationalize the Nigeria-Equatorial Guinea Combined Maritime Policing and Security Patrol Committee for security of the joint maritime borders of both countries. Other international commitments, he listed, includes the deployment of personnel to the African Union Headquarters Addis Ababa as well as various staff officers to 9 peace support missions under the auspices of the United Nations, ECOWAS and AU. Dahun, further asserted that on the domestic scene, various joint operations with sister Services such as OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE, OPERATION AWATSE, OPERATION DELTA SAFE, OPERATIONAL WHIRL STROKE, OPERATION WHIRL PUNCH and OPERATION SAFE HAVEN have been undertaken by the Service with sustenance of vital single Service operations such as OPERATION RIVER SWEEP, OPERATION TSARE TEKU as well as the Choke Point Control Regime.