By Levinus Nwabughiogu
To effectively tackle the incidences of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and sea piracy in the country, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibot-Ete Ekwe Ibas has demanded the acquisition of additional vessels.
The Naval Chief made the disclosure while defending the institution’s 2020 budget at House of Representatives committee on Navy yesterday.
He said: “To effectively tackle these, the Navy needs adequate budgetary provision to acquire additional operational vessels”.
Earlier, chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi (APC, Plateau), who superintended the defence process had underscored the importance of naval activities for the country, saying it was an economic benefit.
He pledged the support of the House to enable the Nigerian Navy realize its aim of stamping out Oil theft, which amount to economic sabotage.
The chairman, however, warned the institution against working at cross purposes with the lawmakers, hinting of inspecting the naval formations nationwide soon.
“As we look forward to undertaking familiarisation tour of naval formations across the country in the exercise of our oversight functions in no distant future, I call on the naval authorities to be transparent in their dealings to forestall the possibility of any gridlock with the committee.
“This committee is willing and ready to work with the Navy as partners in progress for optimal productivity, but we shall not hesitate to wield the big stick where you are found wanting.
“We shall not renege on its sacred responsibility of providing the needed oversight on the activities of the Navy, but we shall have as our underlying principle, the idea of adding value to the Navy than being a clog in the wheel of progress by reason of unnecessary antagonism.
“We shall not misconstrue the concept of checks and balances to mean executive/legislative bickering, but we shall also, not fail to adhere strictly to rules and procedures in order to ensure that Nigeria and Nigerians are not shortchanged”, he said.