By Esther Onyegbula
The Nigerian Navy has received a 46-metre patrol warship and other military equipment donated by the People’s Republic of China, to address maritime criminalities in nation’s maritime domain and beyond.
The donation according to Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jian Chun, who spoke at a joint handover ceremony held at the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Beecroft, Lagos yesterday, was part of effort to strengthen the ties between China and Nigeria.
He added that that it was also aimed at assisting the Nigerian Navy in the fight against sea criminals as well curbing insecurity within the nation’s maritime domain, in the Gulf of Guinea corridor and beyond.
Appreciating the Chinese government for the gesture, the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) said the donation would further consolidate the defence bilateral agreement between the two countries as well as improve the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
According to the Minister , ” The existing efforts of the Federal Government towards supporting the military to combat insecurity has been impactful and yielding tremendous successes.
“With the support and donation of equipment and platforms from strategic partners like the People’s Republic of China, capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be further improved.
“These will no doubt boost socio-economic development for enhanced national security as well as regional stability. This means that the impact of this donated equipment will not only be felt in Nigeria but in the West Africa Sub-region as well as the whole continent of Africa,” Magashi added.
Magashi therefore assured that the equipment and platform would be deployed to enhance operations effectiveness of the Armed Forces for improved security.
On his part, the Chief Of The Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, recalled that as part of the fleet recapitalization efforts through the support of President Muhamadu Buhari, the Nigerian Navy acquired 2 x 95.6m Offshore Patrol Vessels from China.
“These are NNS CENTENARY and UNITY, which joined the Nigerian Navy Fleet in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Sequel to these acquisitions, a 46m Patrol Vessel, NNS SAGBAMA was donated by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to support Nigerian Navy operations.
“I am happy to state that these vessels and others in the fleet have enhanced Nigerian Navy’s maritime security operations efforts, which significantly reduced piracy within Nigeria’s maritime domain as well as the Gulf of Guinea and eventually culminated in delisting Nigeria from the list of Piracy Prone countries this year by the International Maritime Bureau”, Gambo stated.
Describing the latest donation of the 46M Patrol Vessel to the Nigerian Navy as another milestone in the bilateral collaboration between both countries, the CNS said it also attested. to China’s “willingness and resilience to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.
“I am optimistic that this vessel will further enhance Nigerian Navy’s presence at sea towards curbing insecurity within the nation’s maritime domain and beyond.
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