By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, yesterday, told the National Assembly not to undermine the budget estimate of the Nigerian Navy pending before it for approval.
Ete-Ibas said non approval of estimated budget of the servie had grave consequence for the country as it would spend heavier sums of money to contain security, especially within its maritime environments.
To this end, the Naval chief tasked the National Assembly to look into the budget of the Nigerian Navy from patriotic point of view and appropriately approve same for the service to adequately contain security threats in the country’s maritime areas.
Speaking when he received members of the House of Representatives Committee on Navy, led by its Chairman, Hon.Abdussamad Dasuki, on oversight assignment at the Naval Headquarters, Ete-Ibas, said the Nigerian Navy had fared very well in its constitutional responsibilities.
The Naval chief said the Nigerian Navy was ever ready to rise up to any call expected of it from the Nigerian authorities, but said its capacity was hinged adequate funding.
He said the service was playing very great but silent roles in safeguarding the country especially in the maritime environment, insisting that such roles could not be possible without adequate funding.
‘We will continue to harp here that without providing the support for the Navy, it will cost the nation far more than what is invested in the Navy, “he said.
Recalling that the last time the Navy and House Committee on Navy met was about a year ago, Ete-Ibas said regular meetings between the duo could not only enhance relationship but also understanding needed to effective tackle maritime challenges.
“You will recall that the Nigerian Navy has presented its budget defence and I am glad to state here that in that one year, the Navy has been able to discharge itself credibly well with the limited resources at its disposal.
“I am also glad to acknowledge the support that the Nigerian Navy has gotten from your committee and the National Assembly as a whole which has resulted in the tremendous improvements in the resources available to delivering.
“The committee has had a tour of the various Naval establishments and facilities where you have been able to avail yourself the opportunity of seeing what is on ground based on the resources that you have given and we have been able to deliver.
“Am sure that during that tour you must have made an impression which have been communicated to us.
“This forum will enable us to clarify some issues after our preamble of the meeting.
” I want to use this opportunity to assure you that the Nigerian Navy is always there to support whatever efforts the country needs in providing the security in maritime environment that will enable our national development, “he added.
Speaking also, the Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Hon.Abdussamad Dasuki, hailed the CNS for the various achievements he said the Nigerian Navy had achieved under his leadership just as he congratulated him over the extension of his tenure by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it was a well deserved gesture by the president.
He said they were at the Naval Headquarters as part of their oversight functions, adding that:”In the past two weeks, we have moved around naval formations precisely to Eastern Naval Command in calabar where we inspected some serious, very gigantic projects.”
The lawmaker, who represents Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency in Sokoto State on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, said:.”As part of our oversight functions, we had a tour, we saw the facilities, we saw the equipment and I can tell you these are the kind of things we would like to see.
” It might interest you to know that in the course of that oversight, we saw the welfare of officers and ratings of the Nigerian Navy well taken care of with regards to their accommodation.”
He further said:”Apart from that, we saw some other projects ongoing in the Eastern Naval Command and at the same time, we were in the Western Naval Command where we saw construction of jetties ongoing.
“We saw the apartment of ratings and officers of the Nigerian Navy in Ojo town. We saw the newly constructed mess also in Ojo town. We also saw another projects going on in the naval dockyard as well.
” I think as a committee what we have seen we were quite impressed and at the same time we would like to know some of the things that we are taking into consideration before those projects were handed over.”