*Wants FG to consider supplementary appropriation bill to immediately equip Navy
By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja- As the federal government commences negotiation with militant groups in the Niger Delta to bring an end to attacks and bombing of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta, the House of Representatives Committee on the Nigerian Navy has demanded for a stronger maritime policing architecture spearheaded by the Nigerian Navy to effectively combat all forms of maritime crime.
Chairman House Committee on Navy, Hon. Abdussamad Dasuki who made the call when he led members of the committee on oversight visit to Naval headquarters, said, “The situation in the Niger Delta area and the increasing reports of piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea deserves special attention similar to the special intervention fund provided for the fight against insurgency in the north east.
“The provision of such funding can support the immediate purchase of equipment and any logistic requirement which may be required for any naval operation.
“In view of the above, I am constrained to urge the federal government to consider the presentation of a Maritime Security Supplementary Appropriation Bill for the immediate equipment purchase in favour of the Nigerian Navy to enable it tackle the security challenges in the Niger Delta region and the Gulf of Guinea as a whole.
Continuing, Hon. Abdussamad said, “Further to this, the war against insurgency in the north east is being contained, the new threat and resurgence of the Niger Delta militancy will challenge the operational capacity and response of the Navy to its limits. In this regard, adequate preparation and planning will be required.
Reiterating the importance of the Nigerian Navy, he said it is evident when one considers the strategic importance of the Gulf of Guinea, and the critical infrastructure that supports the Nigerian economy as most oil and gas installations are situated offshore or along the rivers and waterways of our country.
Earlier Chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas noted that the navy works 24 hours a day and seven days a week adding that “our policing roles placing enormous responsibilities because our economic assets have to work and ships have to sail in a safe and secure maritime environment.