President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged Federal Government’s continued support to equip the military.
He also urged the institution to brace up to the administration’s challenges by looking inwards to construct and improvise vital operational tools.
The president made the pledge at the inauguration of three Naval ships, Nigerian Navy Ship UNITY, Nigerian Navy Ship KARADUWA and the Nigerian Navy Tugboat COMMANDER EDWIN UGWU in Lagos on Thursday.
The UNITY ship was built in China, while the KARADUWA and the COMMANDER EDWIN UGWU were constructed in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Navy has shown great foresight in nurturing the vision for this ship and her sister ship.
“It is even more heartwarming that you have not confined your efforts to having recourse to foreign sources alone, but have braced up to take your destiny in your own hands by embarking on aggressive local complement provision to assemble your fleet.
“The Federal Government expects no less from you as looking inwards is the way to go amidst a uniquely challenging mix of recession and rising acute security concerns.’’
According to him, the Navy has shown great foresight in nurturing the vision for the NNS Unity and her sister ships.
He noted that it was comforting that efforts were not confined to using foreign sources alone, but in mobilising local complements.
President Buhari noted that the healthy and growing diplomatic relations with China had been most beneficial to Nigeria.
He recalled that the Chinese Government had earlier donated an offshore patrol boat to the Navy at the time of taking delivery of the sister ship of Nigerian Navy Unity last year.
“I cannot but commend the business dependability of China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Company Limited, the builders of these Offshore Patrol Vessels for seeing to a conclusive and successful execution of the contracts.
“In the same vein, I enjoin their local partners to share in this commendation for their efforts at local facilitation.’’
He commended the Navy’s impressive strides in the continued fight against maritime security threats like piracy, oil theft, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism as well as support for the fight against terrorism in the Northeast.
“As a truly national service, I commend your involvement and contribution in the on-going fight against insurgency in the North East.
“The Navy is also envisaged to play a critical role in upcoming continental programmes such as the development of sustainable blue economy for Africa adopted and signed by the African Union in Oct. 2016.
“The commissioning of these platforms is to embolden you to sustain and expand your capacity and remit.”
Buhari urged more probity and re-dedication to patriotism by the Nigerian Navy.
He said that the Federal government would continue to support the Navy within the limits of the nation’s resources.
He said: “Our administration is unwavering in prioritising the commitment, readiness and willingness towards strengthening the Navy through improved training, provision of modern equipment, infrastructure and attention to welfare.
“I hasten however to remind you that we are at a critical period when the country faces dwindling revenues.
“The moment therefore calls for prudent resource management and patriotic re-dedication. I am accordingly encouraged by the steps you have taken so far.”