Reps’ Committee challenges Nigeria Navy to build its own warships
Mr Yusuf Gadgi, the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Navy, on Wednesday challenged the Nigeria Navy (NN) to start building its own warships.
He said that the NN had the required competence and expertise to build its own warships without any intervention.
Gadgi said this on Wednesday after a Stakeholders’ Meeting and at the end of a three-day oversight visit to the various naval commands in Lagos.
He said that during the course of the committee members tour, they noticed that boats and ships were produced at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island.
“During the course of our visit, we noticed that the Nigeria Navy acquired some boats from South Africa. If South Africa can produce boats, we have our own naval dockyard to do so.
“What stops the government from investing in the naval dockyard to an extent, since it has produced some of the boats and ships we want, why can’t we increase its capacity?
“We as the giant of Africa will be able to produce boats and ships for the babies of other West African countries,” he said.
He also said that one of the issues the committee would work on would be government’s centralised opinion on the navy.
“We have a competent navy that will be able to look at the kind of ships that they want and look at the type of vessels they want.
“We should be able to empower and allow them to have free-hands to acquire those things.
“Not other agencies buying vessels and ships that cannot even stand the test of time, ” he said.
Gadgi assured the command that the committee would look into the challenges facing the navy, especially, in the areas of finance and recruitment of personnel.
“As a committee, with the challenges we have seen, we are willing to make decisions that will further promote operations of the navy considering the commitment shown by officers and the Western Naval Command,” he said.
He said that a larger stakeholders’meeting would hold in Abuja after all the members of the committee would have submitted their reports.
“We know that after going to the central and eastern commands, including the units that operate in all those areas, the largest stakeholders’ meeting will still hold in Abuja.
“There, we will be able to digest the challenges and find lasting solutions to all the challenges being faced by the maritime-related sectors, ” he said.
He said that the committee had identified intimidating challenges which if they were not looked into, they might dent the prestige of the Nigeria Navy.
He assured them that the challenges would be solved.
He, however, commended the Nigeria Navy and the Western Naval Command for their tremendous works on the maritime front.
Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, also commended the committee for visiting the command and identifying with some of the issues confronting the navy in general.
“The visit of the committee has been very enlightening in terms of advice and areas of intervention that will ensure that the operations of the Western Naval Command are enhanced.
“I want, on behalf of the officers, ratings and civilian staff members, of not only the Western Naval Command but all other commands in Lagos, to sincerely thank you for your energy and drive, the commitment and sincerity of purpose with which your committee performed its oversight function.
“We have been receiving delegations before now but this has been the most engaging and most productive, ” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee members’ visited the Navy Ordnance Depot, Special Boat Service and Joint Maritime Security Centre.
They also went to the Underwater Warfare School, Nigeria Reference Hospital, the newly commissioned apartments for personnel, the Stadium, the Nigeria Navy Secondary School and the Naval Air Base within the Ojo barracks.
They were also at NNS ships in BEECROFT, Naval Base BEECROFT, Naval Training Command, the Naval Dockyard Limited, Naval Doctrine and Assessment Centre, Forward Operating bases in Igbokoda and Badagry respectively.
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