The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla has said that the Nigerian Navy had grown to be the fifth largest Navy in Africa with over 48 capital ships.

Ogalla said this on Saturday at the Ceremonial Sunset which held at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos State to end the week-long 68th Anniversary of the Nigerian Navy which began on May 24.

He said tha the Nigerian Navy was proud of the tremendous achievements that it had made in the past 68 years.

“We have grown to the extent that we have over 48 capital ships, and at all times more than 70 percent of these ships are operational.

“We have a fleet of helicopters and other air assets including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which have contributed to our fleet greatness.

“We also have a sophisticated Maritime Domain Awareness Capability which is equal to non in the world,” the CNS said.

According to Ogalla, Nigerian Navy is among the only five navies in the world that has the Maritime Domain Awareness which incorporates coastal radars and over the ride radars.

“With these facilities, we have been able to improve our capacity to face the challenges for which the Nigerian Navy was established,” he said.

The CNS said that the Nigerian Navy was primarily established with the responsibility of keeping the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation particularly from the maritime domain.

“In addition to this, we double as the coast guard of the nation and assist and coordinate the enforcement of all kinds of laws within the maritime environment.

“That is why the Nigerian Navy has done tremendously well in it’s responsibility towards safe guarding the economic resources of this country,” Ogalla said.

According to him, in the past 11 months, Nigerian Navy has been able to reduce the incidences of oil theft and criminalities in our waters to the barest minimum.

“Prior to 2022, Nigeria was listed as one of the piracy prone countries in the world.

This has numerous implications for shipping and for the economy of the nation.

“Ships that were entering Nigerian waters were required to pay higher insurance which translates into higher cost of goods and services in our country.

“However, improved synergy with other security agencies has enabled us to eliminate piracy in Nigerian waters to the extent that International Maritime Bureau (IMB) delisted Nigeria from piracy prone nations,” the CNS said.

Ogalla particularly attributed the efforts of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Police for making this great feat possible.

“All these achievements are worth celebrating and this is the essence of the Navy week celebration at 68,” he said.

The CNS said that Nigerian Navy operations had always been to align with the agenda of President Bola Tinubu towards the eradication of poverty and the creation of wealth for it’s citizens.

“Based on this, we are moving the fleet towards safe guarding the maritime domain in order to create an enabling environment for a thriving Blue Economy.

“The African Integrated Maritime Strategy and the National Maritime Strategy recognise that Africa cannot get out of poverty except we are able to maximally utilise the resources of the blue economy.

“Therefore, the Nigerian Navy has made it a priority to do just that by creating the enabling environment,” he said.

Ogalla thanked the president for his tremendous support to the Nigerian Navy and said that the Nigerian Navy would continue to redouble it’s efforts towards achieving it’s aims and objectives.

He also appreciated the support of the community where the Nigerian Navy reside saying that Lagos State had been a very good host, in giving them all the facility that they required.

“They have provided the bases for expansion and some of the things that we are celebrating today are part of those expansion.

“We are glad that everywhere we are, we have a good working relationship with our host community and utilise this particular resource of good relationship to enhance our operations.

“This is the essence of our Navy week celebration which culminates today,” the CNS said.

The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mr Obafemi Hazmat thanked the Nigerian Navy for all they had been doing especially in protecting the waterways of the country.

Hazmat represented the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the event.

The deputy governor said that the Nigerian Navy played a major role in terms of protecting the waterways, protecting maritime infrastructure, preventing piracy and oil theft among other things.

“We also appreciate the fact that those who have retired still come around to always encourage the serving ones by adding their wealth of knowledge to improving their operations.

“We appreciate the CNS for sustaining and improving on the activities of the Navy and we are grateful to our officers for dedicating their lives so that we can have peace.
“We especially thank their wives because they keep the homefront when their husbands are away on duty, may God continue to strengthen them,” Hamzat said.

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