The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali(rtd) said pirates and sea criminals operating within the country’s waterways pose a big risk to Nigeria, unless urgent steps are taken to check them.
He spoke at the commissioning of six naval fast attack craft in Lagos saying that, “criminality like piracy, sea robbery and attack on strategic oil installations have complicated the nation’s maritime security environment and threatened, with dire consequences, the overall well being of the country.
He explained that as littoral state with huge dependence on her off shore resources, maritime security is vital to the nation’s well-being, adding that, Nigeria is at risk, if it does not equip the navy to fight these threats.
The minister said the induction of six vessels in the fleet of the Nigerian Navy is in line with the current administration’s promise to keep Nigeria safe, adding that it was also a demonstration of this regime’s resolve of protecting Nigeria’s maritime domain.
He assured that the addition into the fleet of the navy would boost the operational capabilities of the force, especially in the effort to stamp out the various threats prevalent in the country’s maritime environment.
The Minister said that it is crucial that Nigeria make progress in the provision of peace and ordwer in the maritime domain, noting that the dependence of nation’s economy on offshore resources as well as the enormous potentials of the maritime sector to contribute to nationals food security and employment generation, makes this highly imperative.
His words: “The procurement of these vessels by the Ministry of Defence, again demonstrates this administration’s unwavering commitment and willingness towards strengthening the navy through provision of modern operating equipment and infrastructure.”
General Dan-Alli said that the increased role and involvement of the Nigerian Navy in strengthening maritime security has been in strong evidence over the past few years, just as he commended the Nigerian Navy for ensuring that the country’s resources offshore are protected.
Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas lamented the myriads of problems Nigeria faces within the country’s maritime environment, adding that, “our resolve to achieve high growth can be realized only if our maritime frontiers and assets are safe, stable and acts as enablers.”
Admiral Ibas said that the primary element of the nation’s maritime power has the challenging task of safeguarding the country’s maritime interest. “ It is imperative that an environment conducive for unhindered conduct of shipping, fishing and offshore exploration and other maritime interest that contribute vitally to economic growth and national development is established.”
He explained that the demand that the Navy is adequately positioned to provide round the clock protection for sea-based critical national assets and also ensure security of our sea-lanes is important.