The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas, said the Nigerian Navy had in its 60 years of existence developed the capacity to address Nigeria’s maritime crimes and related threats.
Ibas stated this at the interdenominational church service for Nigerian Navy’s Diamond Jubilee in Abuja on Sunday.
The CNS said the navy had developed capacity both in platforms and the requisite expertise to secure the nation’s oil infrastructure and contain piracy in Nigeria’s maritime territory.
“Over the years, commendable successes have been made by the Nigerian Navy to build its capacity to discharge its duties as enshrined in the laws.
“These efforts have made the navy to be less-dependent on foreign sources for partnership as reflected in the modest achievement of local construction of boats or seaward defence platforms.
“Over time, these investments have fully been justified, more importantly in the navy’s policing role of the maritime-based national resources’’, he said.
Ibas said the navy had grown in the past 60 years from a modest force of 25 men to over 25,000 men and women and from nine assorted boats to over 200 platforms.
He added that the Navy’s Diamond Jubilee would showcase what the force had achieved over the years, partly, to guide the younger generation of officers and ratings in their future engagements.
The CNS urged officers and men of the force to be more dedicated to their duties in order to justify government’s huge investment in the navy in the past 60 years.
Ibas identified the resurgence of militancy and the high rate of piracy in Nigeria’s maritime territory as some of the challenges confronting the navy and urged government to improve funding of the force.
Lt.-Cdr. Robert Oparaji, the acting Director of Roman Catholic Chaplaincy, Nigerian Navy, in a sermon, urged officers and men to rededicate to serve the nation.
He said tasks assigned to the Nigerian navy would hardly be achieved if officers and men were relaxed in the discharge of their responsibilities.
“As the country battles insurgency in the North-East and militancy in the Niger Delta, soldiers and officers must strive to be more committed in their duties.
“This demands a disciplined mind, discipline in ethos and total discipline in our operations because that is the only way that we will be able to effectively fulfill our mandate.’’
Oparaji urged leaders at all levels to be sincere and prudent in the management of the little resources allocated to them.
He said their leadership of the various institutions should inspire improved dedication and commitment in their subordinates.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the climax of the service was the special thanksgiving led by the CNS and accompanied by his wife, the representatives of the service chiefs and other senior officers.
In a related the development, the Defence and Police Officers Wives Association (DEPOWA), held a thanksgiving service to mark the end of its 2016 week celebration.
The President of DEPOWA, Mrs Omobolanle Olonisakin, urged wives of officers and men of the armed forces to rededicate their families to God as their husbands confront security threats in the country.
She said the prayers of the women and their children remained key in the successes recorded by the men in the various conflict theatres across the country.
Olonisakin pledged the association’s continued support to the families of deceased officers and men of the armed forces.
NAN reports that the service was held at the All Saints Military Church, Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja. (NAN)