Ship owners in Lagos on Monday applauded the Nigerian Navy (NN) for its fleet recapitalisation with the aim to further take full control of the country’s waters against illegalities.
Capt. Jim Adu, a ship owner, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the recapitalisation by the Navy was a sign of improvement on its part.
“The Nigerian Navy is one of the three arms of the Nigerian Armed Forces and Nigeria is known to be a maritime nation by the virtue of its natural endowment.
“Therefore, it is important that we have a strong navy that can perform; besides, we are all aware of the current oil theft that is ongoing on our waters.
“Everyone should support the recapitalisation process of the nay for its effectiveness.
“You will realise that a lot of our oil and gas investment is coming through the waters.
“If we leave our coast and all the investment exposed, then, we know what the implication will be to the economy.
“So, I am very happy if they can effectively take full charge of the waters through the recapitalisation agenda because Nigeria needs a very strong navy,’’ he said.
Adu said he had no doubt in his mind that the recent vessels acquired by the navy will not be effective.
“I believe the recent acquisition of the vessels will improve the navy’s effectiveness on the sea,’’ he said.
Adu said the government should not relent in funding the navy and providing it with vessels and equipment to put an end to maritime illegalities and insurgency.
“The same goes to the Air Force and the Army, these armed forces have very intelligent officers that are highly trained; therefore, support should also come from corporate organisations and not only the government.
“My advice to the navy officers is to perform and serve the country better because a lot of lives depend on their actions and inactions,’’ he said.
Mr Nicodemus Odola, a member, Board of Trustees, Shippers Association of Lagos State, told NAN that the fleet recapitalisation was a good sign of the navy’s professionalism.
“The Federal Government should be commended for its effort in giving the navy what it needs to function effectively.
“There is no agency or company that will be given funds to improve on what it is doing before that will not improve.
“Definitely, fleet recapitalisation, giving them more fund, repositioning them for better performance is necessary so that they can perform better,’’ he said.
Odola said the recent acquisition of ships by the navy would enable them to police and take charge of the Nigerian waters properly, unlike in the past where there were fewer ships to patrol the sea.
“Acquiring more vessels will enable the navy to cover the waters effectively and secure it.
“They should not only acquire ships, there should also be training for naval personnel for better performance,’’ he said.
Odola, who assessed the navy based on its performance, said they have been able to secure the Nigerian waters to an extent and urged them not to rest on their oars.
“Piracy should not still exist on our waters by now, so, I appeal to the navy to work harder in performing its role.
“Intelligence gathering is also important and this gives us the need for the navy personnel to be well trained,’’ he said.
Capt. Niyi Labinjo, President, Nigerian Indigenous Ship Owners of Nigeria (NISA), applauded the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin’s for the recapitalization.
Labinjo said that more needed to be done to curtail illegal bunkering.
“There is still piracy on our waters but the Nigerian Navy is really trying its best to ensure the waters are safe from illegality.
“We still have a lot of foreign vessels that are still breaching our Cabotage Act which the Navy should also look into,’’ he said
He also applauded the government’s effort in the recapitalisation, adding that the government should give them more platform to perform effectively than what they have done in the past.
NAN recalls that the navy in its effort to effectively take charge of the Nigerian waters, embarked on the recapitalisation supported by the Federal Government.
This brought about the recent acquisition of four new ships – Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Centenary, NNS Sagbama, NNS Prosperity and NNS Okpabana.