The Nigerian Navy has said that a total of 20 capital ships were procured for the Nigerian Navy (NN) during the eight-year administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Chief of Policy and Plans, Naval Headquarters, Rear Adm. Saidu Garba, said this in a statement he signed on Friday.
According to Garba, the ships comprise of Offshore Patrol Vessels, Landing Ship Transport, Hydrographic Survey Vessels, Seaward Defence Boats, Helicopters, as well as, over 300 Inshore Patrol Vessels and Assault crafts.
He said that as a result of Buhari’s contribution to the development of the NN during his administration, the Navy was poised to give the president a befitting Presidential Fleet Review (PFR).
The PFR with the theme: ‘Fleet Readiness for National Prosperity’ is scheduled to hold in Lagos from May 19 to May 22.
The naval chief added that the president also commissioned two locally built ships in 2016 and in 2021 respectively and laid the keel for two more, which would be ready by 2024.
“The PFR 2023 is therefore organised in honour of Buhari, in recognition of his generous contribution to the service and the nation at large.
“It involves assemblage of ships and other maritime assets at a designated area for the purpose of demonstrating loyalty and allegiance to the state.
“The review also provides an avenue for the president to assess the navy’s preparedness to meet statutory obligations in maritime security, safety and defence within a global collaborative approach,” he said.
Garba said that the last PFR was conducted in 2010 in honour of then President Goodluck Jonathan, and to mark the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.
He also noted that the NN had attended many Fleet reviews of other countries with the nation’s Flag Ship, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) ARADU.
“Also, the NN sent personnel to participate in the Bangladesh Navy Fleet Review in December 2022, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the country’s Independence,” he said.
The naval chief said that the PFR-2023 exercise would involve 16 NN warships, 3 x AW109E NN helicopters and a mix of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft.
“Some foreign warships from allied nations including Spain, Brazil and Ghana are also expected to participate in the exercise.
“Other activities lined up for the day include capability demonstration by NN Special Forces, defence/maritime expo exhibition, combined naval parade and exercises,” he said.
Garba said that the tenure of Buhari marked a period of profound transformation of the NN Fleet.
He said that the president demonstrated enormous political will in ensuring the recapitalisation of the NN Fleet, which had become the pride of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
“Therefore, the PFR-2023 is in celebration of Mr President’s commitment to strengthening the nation’s naval assets and capability to project her instruments of maritime power for national prosperity,” Garba said.