We are delighted by the news of the commissioning of four new platforms that were recently added to the Nigerian Navy Fleet by President Goodluck Jonathan. From dependable information made available to us, the new ships namely: OKPABANA, a high endurance cutter acquired from the United States of America; PROSPERITY, a former Irish Navy fishery patrol boat, acquired purposely for use as a training ship; CENTENARY, one of the two offshore patrol vessels procured from China and SAGBAMA, which was donated by the Peoples Republic of China, the fleet of ships in the Nigerian Navy may have been increased by four yesterday; and will be increased further by another two before end of the year.
Our excitement over the new acquisitions are drawn mainly from the fact that, for a nation in urgent need of peace and security that should engender prosperity, upping the capacity of the Navy to deliver on its mandatory beat, especially in these rather insecure times, is as patriotic as it is commendable.
Apart from being in line with the Jonathan administration’s Transformation Agenda and its vision of becoming one of the leading economies in the world, premium is being placed on improved national security. And by extension, the development implies food security as well as employment generation.
The high dependence of the nation’s economy on offshore resources, as well as the enormous potentials of the maritime sector to contribute to food security and employment generation, makes the provision of effective maritime security very imperative. Therefore, the Nigerian Navy, as the lead maritime security agency, deserves all the support it needs, to effectively carry out its statutory roles.
In this regard, we must add that, in spite of other pressing demands, the Jonathan administration has continued to support the fleet recapitalization objective of the Nigerian Navy Transformation Plan 2010 – 2020, which was formulated to support the realisation of the goals of the government’s Transformation Agenda.
Also, it is no longer commonplace to underscore the fact of the achievements of the Navy in the fight against oil theft and other maritime crimes from our waterways and bordering waters.
Another leg to our excitement has to do with the diplomatic aspect.
The commissioning event, no doubt, represents a furtherance of continued cooperation between Nigeria, the United States of America and China in the area of maritime security. Also, we note too that while the Nigerian Navy Ship, OKPABANA is the sixth ship the Nigerian Navy has acquired from the United States of America since 2002, Nigerian Navy Ship CENTENARY is the first of the two initial acquisitions from China. The second vessel is still under construction in China and will be delivered before the end of the year.
Accordingly, we crave to see more progress in this cooperation among the three world citizens, to the mutual benefit of each.
On the foregoing note, we urge the Navy to be constantly conscious of the fact that the government and people of Nigeria expect judicious and productive use of not just these new assets, but the old ones as well, to deliver the much desired maritime security.
Even as we wish the officers and ratings of the Service fair winds and flowing seas, a common professional expression for successful outing in naval circles, we must acknowledge the support of the Jonathan administration for not just the Navy, but the entire military services. We underscore this as a fair demonstration of commitment towards bettering our national security for today and our tomorrow.