TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, has said that the Nigerian Armed Forces are involved in critical operational and security engagements to fight Boko Haram, Niger Delta militancy and economic saboteurs.
He also said that the Nigerian Navy has received 250 boats and other offshore patrol vessels to aid its efforts in the fight against sea pirates and oil thieves in the Niger Delta region.
General Olonisakin disclosed this at the passing out parade and commissioning ceremony of 200 cadet officers at the Nigerian Naval College, Onne, Rivers State.
Olonisakin, who was the review officer, stated that the Federal Government was worried over the spate of criminal activities in the nation’s maritime domain, stating that the military vessels would assist the Navy in its effort.
He also commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, for his efforts at repositioning the service in the areas of training and facilities.
The CDS stated that the Nigerian Navy had continued to champion the maintenance of internal security in the country, adding that NNS was fully involved in assisting sister agencies in ensuring security.
He said: “This has warranted critical operational and security engagements of the armed forces of Nigeria across different theatres.
“I am glad to note that in addition to assisting sister services in the North East operations against the Boko Haram insurgents, the Nigerian Navy has continued to spearhead internal security operations in the Niger Delta region against militants, pirates, operators of illegal refineries and crude oil thieves.
“Expectedly, significant successes have been achieved by the service, either alone or in collaboration with other security forces at curtailing the excesses of these miscreants.
“Maintaining these successes will definitely be tasking and will require developing appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude through on-the-job training onboard and ashore as well as pragmatic training in all naval training institutions.”
He said: “As can be clearly observed, the Nigerian Navy has matched intent with practical steps, evident by the ongoing fleet expansion programme that has led to the acquisition of several offshore patrol vessels, Seaward Defence Boats and induction of over 250 riverine patrol boats.
“There has equally been substantial infrastructural and manpower development as well as forging of strategic collaborations with regional and more advanced navies. These efforts are targeted at enhancing the Nigerian Navy’s capacity to effectively secure the nation.”
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the necessary support to the security agencies in the fight against insurgents and other criminal elements in the country.
Olonisakin said: “The Armed Forces of Nigeria thank Mr President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for always providing the needed support and encouragements that have seen to our many noble achievements.
“I will not fail to appreciate the governor and good people of Rivers State for their good gestures, support and cordial relationship with the Armed Forces and the Nigerian Naval College in particular.
“I also wish to extend my appreciation to the traditional rulers of Onne, Ikpokiri and Ogu communities for their harmonious relationship with the naval units in their midst,” he said.
He noted that President Buhari expects total obedience of the newly- commissioned officers, charging the 200 personnel to be diligent in the discharge of their duties.
“The Commander in Chief needs your total loyalty to constituted authority and be prepared to give necessary support to the Nigeria Police and other para-military agencies in the discharge of their duties”.