By Albert Akpo
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday in Lagos that celebrating the nation’s 50th anniversary was worth the while as the essence was to “see how far we have gone as a nation, identify where we are lagging behind and proffer solution.”
The President who conducted the Presidential review of the Navy warships and fleet at the Western Naval Command, Apapa, Lagos, maintained that, “the mere fact that we are existing as a nation 50 years on, was enough reason to celebrate and give thanks to God.”
Decked in the Navy ceremonial butter-coloured dress with the highest rank of the Admiral of the Fleet, President Jonathan who arrived the Western Naval Command open ground at exactly 1:34 p.m. inspected the guard of honour which was preceded by 21 gun salute. He assured that his administration would do everything possible to equip the Nigerian Navy to fight and protect the nation’s territorial waters.
According to him, the enormity of the nation’s natural resources were deposited in the high sea; arguing that except the Navy was adequately equipped in terms of more platforms and logistics it may not be in better position to discharge its duties.
While commending the Navy for its efforts so far against sea enemies; especially illegal oil bunkerers and sea pirates, he said his visit has further confirmed that there was more to be done for the Nigerian Navy to reposition and bring it at par with its foreign counterparts.
His words: “The celebration of the nation’s 50th anniversary is unique in the annals of this country and the Nigeria Navy has been quite effective since the inception of the Navy till today. And in terms of manpower and stability, the Nigerian Navy has been doing very well.
We know presently we have some challenges in terms of adequate platforms, let me assure you that we will make sure that the Navy is adequately equipped. One of our main sources of income is oil and the duty of protecting the installations rests squarely on the Navy, in this regard, I want to assure you that the government will ma
ke sure that all your requirements are met.”
Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Sa’id Ibrahim, had assured that he administration would give illegal oil bunkerers the fight of their lives if they did not desist from what he described as un-economic activities. He accused ex-service men and some civilians collaborators as being brains behind illegal oil bunkering.