President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said that piracy reduced significantly over the last seven years, culminating in delisting Nigeria from the list of piracy prone countries.
The President said this at the 2023 Presidential Fleet Review in Lagos, held in his honour by the Nigerian Navy, with the theme “Fleet Readiness for National Prosperity”.
He said the International Maritime Bureau in March 2022 delisted Nigeria from the list of piracy prone countries.
“Furthermore, application of technology to secure the maritime domain has supported intelligence-driven deployment of ships.
“I will particularly commend the diligent arraignment and prosecution of MT HEROIC IDUN, sequel to the detection and arrest, for attempting to load crude oil, offshore Bonny in August 2022 without authorisation, just to cite one example.”
According to Buhari, this successful conviction further confirms the Nigerian Navy’s resolve to protect resources belonging to our country.
The President said the Nigerian Navy achieved these feat due to collaborations with navies from partner nations.
He said it boosted synergy in addressing illegalities within the Gulf of Guinea.
“They had joint exercises such as Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS, Exercise GRAND AFRICA NEMO and Exercise FLINTLOCK to mention a few.
“These exercises have enhanced the Navy’s readiness for Maritime security operations,” he said.
He, however, commended the heads of navies and coast guards as well as foreign allies for the useful cooperation.
The President also expressed appreciation for the donations and mutual military cooperation with ship building partner nations.
He said the cooperation had encouraged local ship building by the Nigerian Navy.
“The Navy’s efforts in indigenous shipbuilding, in line with the nation’s local content development plan is yielding positive result.
“Our naval engineers were wholly responsible for building three Seaward Defence Boats, NNS ANDONI, NNS KARADUWA and NNS OJI.
READ ALSO: ASUU tasks incoming government on educational reform
“In December 2021, I performed keel laying foundation for the construction of two Seaward Defence Boats, which will be ready by 2024.
“I have no doubt that our Navy will soon commence construction of larger ships for itself and other navies in the region and beyond.
“This achievement is a great pride to Nigeria and an impressive contribution to national development.”
He also acknowledged the cooperation of the Lagos State Government, emphasising the role of the state and stakeholders in the economy of the nation.
“Let me also compliment the government and people of Lagos State and other maritime stakeholders for the critical support given to the country’s Navy in conducting this Fleet Review.
“Pertinently, more than half of our maritime trade pass through ports located in Lagos and as such continues to be a lifeline for the nation’s industry and economy.
“This strategic importance further underscores the necessity of cordial working relations,” Buhari said.
He also commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, and the entire Navy personnel for the splendid conduct of the “historic event”.
Earlier, the President went on board a Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Sokoto, to inaugurate two ships and a Navy Helicopter at sea.
He inaugurated a new helicopter (NN410 ), manufactured in Italy; NNS KADA, a landing ship transport, built in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; and NNS IBENO, donated by the Peoples Republic of China.
Gambo, in his welcome speech commended the transformation of the Nigerian Navy within the eight years of the President’s tenure.
“His administration has repositioned the Navy for better service delivery and actualisation of its constitutional mandate,” he said.
He explained that the people ships, NNS KADA, a Landing Ship Transport, was built by Messrs DAMEN at the Sharjah Port, United Arab Emirates.
He said the ship would serve as a force multiplier toward projecting naval power as well as support non-kinetic operations.
He said NNS IBENO is a fast patrol craft, donated by the Peoples Republic of China.
“The ship would be deployed for surveillance and patrol duties within Nigerian waters and the region.
“The NN Helicopter, NN410, first of three to be delivered, which arrived in January, will increase reaction time of the fleet to incidences at sea and aid conduct of Search and Rescue Operations among others.
“Induction of these platforms into the Nigerian Navy Fleet will lead to further decline in maritime crimes and boost socio-economic activities in the Nigerian maritime environment,” Gambo said.