The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Iraboh, on Saturday assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to rearm the Nigeria Navy with modern warships and weaponry.
Iraboh gave the assurance on the sideline of a ‘Ceremonial Sunset’ organised by the Nigeria Navy to mark its 66th anniversary held at Nigeria Naval College in Onne, Rivers.
He said the navy had done a lot in safeguarding Nigeria’s critical oil and gas resources through its dominance in the nation’s waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
“The Nigeria Navy is indisputably a critical contributor to the mainstay of the nation’s economy hence efforts must be redoubled to build a navy that we all will be proud of.
“We need to encourage the navy to guarantee the nation’s economic prosperity within the context of the prevailing Federal Government’s effort to revamp and reposition our economy.
“The Federal Government is working assiduously to ensure the navy’s past operational handicap regarding insufficient equipment becomes a thing of the past,” he said.
Iraboh attributed the current peace being experienced in coastal communities across the country to the doggedness of officers and ratings of the navy in synergy with other security services.
“I commend the untiring efforts of the navy and the entire Armed Forces for reducing crude oil theft, violent crimes and other illegalities in the nation’s maritime domain.
“The realities of our current security situation have further affirmed the multivalent utility of the Nigeria Navy.
“We are indeed proud to acknowledge navy personnel’s gallantry and service in safeguarding our waters; the Gulf of Guinea as well as their new and expanded continental role,” he said.
The defence chief urged the navy to put to good use the new warships and other platforms acquired by the Federal Government in its rearmament programme.
Speaking, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, said the event was an age-long naval tradition used to recognise its achievements and honour fallen colleagues.
He assured of the navy’s commitment to meet its mandate of protecting the nation’s maritime environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.
According to him, the acquisition of new warships and other equipment has necessitated the need to train and retrain troops to effectively use the different arms.
“Concerted efforts are also being made to upgrade the naval fleets to enable us to defend the territorial integrity of our great nation from the sea.
“Due to the availability of the newly acquired platforms, on-the-job training will also be accorded a well-deserved status in our career planning.
“To this end, increased attention is given to training to keep officers and ratings abreast with modern warfare.
“Training curriculums are being reviewed while several training aids and simulators have been continuously procured to join the inventory of the service,” he said.
The officer thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for repositioning the navy to be relevant in nation-building.