BY GABRIEL OKECHUKWU PORT HARCOURT
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabo has charged Nigerian Navy to ensure proficiency in the use of platforms and equipment provided in the fleet recapitalization efforts of the Federal Government, to guarantee adequate security within Nigerian territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
General Irabo who gave the charge during Ceremonial Sunset cum Dinner Night, signaling the end of Nigerian Navy Sixty Six Anniversary celebration at Naval College Onne Rivers State, acknowledged the contributions of Nigerian Navy to the nation’s economy.
The parade at Nigerian Naval College Onne, indicated the kick off of the ceremonial Sunset, which was the grand finale of the anniversary celebration.
The ceremonial Sunset is a military tradition which marks the end of activities for an era, as the National Flag is lowered, personnel retreat for the day and it dates back to sixteenth century.
The Sixty Six Anniversary of Nigerian Navy was quite eventful with Golf tournament, International Maritime Conference, launching of Regional Maritime Exercise, Code named Exercise Edi Diana, Free Medical Rhapsody by Naval Officers Wives Association, NOWA to mention but a few.
Speaking at the event, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabo who charged Nigerian Navy to continue to lead the way among Navies in Africa, encourage personnel to leverage on the provisions by the Federal Government to ensure security of the maritime domain.
“On this note I must commend the untiring efforts of the Nigerian Navy and indeed members of the armed forces in general, which has seen to the reduction of crude oil theft, violent crimes and other illegalities in the nation’s maritime domain.”
“ It is gratifying to equally note the zeal to the internal security duties on the hinterland and the nation’s adjoining waterways.”
“The doggedness of officers and men of the Nigerian Navy in synergy with other security agencies have significantly contributed to instilling the peace and tranquility in most riverine and coastal communities.”
General Irabo while acknowledging the efforts of Nigerian Navy in the fight against oil theft, trafficking in persons, narcotics and illegal arms deal called on Veterans and other stakeholders in the maritime environment to support the Navy.
On his part, The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo enjoined officers to take advantage of various opportunities provided by Nigerian Navy to train and grow in service since their acceleration will be based on how much they have distinguished themselves in every given assignment.
Vice Admiral Gambo who called for a minute silence for heroes, who paid the ultimate price during service, gave assurance that Nigerian Navy will continue to guarantee safety of the water ways.
“Our strength remains in the collective will to defend the territorial integrity of our great nation Nigeria from the sea.”
“We have endeavored to accomplish this in the past decade despite numerous constraints.”
“The reality on ground suggests that we cannot rest on our oars.”
The Chief of the Naval Staff appreciated the present administration for the additions in Naval fleets and reiterated the determination of the Navy to make the maritime environment safe for legitimate business.
The Ceremonial Sunset which could ordinarily be tagged a re-union, was attended by past Chiefs of Naval Staff, top ranking military veterans, traditional rulers and international stakeholders.