BY GABRIEL OKEHUKWU, PORT HARCOURT
The Minister of Defence, retired Major General Bashir Magashi, says the acquisition of platforms would boost the fight against oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, trafficking in persons and other maritime crimes within Nigerian territorial integrity and the Gulf of Guinea.
Retired Major General Magashi who made this known during the passing out Parade of Batch Thirty Two Trainees at Nigerian Navy Basic Training School, NNBTS, Onne, Rivers State, enjoined the ratings to exploit gains of the training to pursue a successful naval career.
The one thousand and eight trainees made up of seven hundred and eighty five males and two hundred and twenty three females who began their journey in January this year were subjected to rigorous drills to transform them from civilians into military personnel.
The ratings that thrilled guests with several parade displays were exposed to Blue ship economy, survival at sea, administration, weapon handling, information management among others.
Speaking during at the occasion, the Minister of Defence, retired Major General Bashir Magashi who reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to continue to support the Armed Forces, gave assurance that acquisition of platforms would guarantee adequate security of the maritime domain.
Retired Major General Magashi expressed confidence that several operations launched by Nigerian Navy such as Obangame Exercise, Dakatar Da Barawo Exercise, Regional Maritime Exercise and collaboration with International Navies across the globe would strengthen the capacity of Nigerian Navy in its operations.
“To further strengthen the Armed Forces readiness for improved national security, I am aware that the Nigerian Navy embarked on tremendous expansion in infrastructural development as well as undergoing platform acquisition and recapitalization, the latest acquisition being NNS KADA, a Landing Ship Tank, which joined other platforms of the Nigerian Navy in May this year.”
“I am optimistic that induction of NNS KADA in the fleet would further consolidate deterrence capability of the Nigerian Navy against maritime crimes and illegalities within our maritime domain and by extension the Gulf of Guinea.”
“The landing ship tank will also serve as a force multiplier in Nigerian Navy’s ability to project naval power, respond to crises as well as support non-kinetic operations within the region and the global community. NNS KADA will no doubt boost Nigerian Navy’s capability in support of ECOWAS mandate and beyond.”
While applauding Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo for piloting the affair of the Navy in the right direction, he acknowledged the contributions of Nigerian Navy Basic Training School Onne in churning out personnel that have made the Navy proud in various security operations.
The minister however admonished the ratings to abide by the rudiments of their training, obey constituted authorities and join in the fight against insurgency, banditry, oil theft, militancy as well as other sundry crimes across the nation.
“At this point, it is important that I order you all to desist from any act or conduct that will compel the Nigerian Navy to use the arm of the law to correct you on wrong doings. Your personal interest must never override national interest.”
“Accordingly, it is your utmost responsibility to always apply caution in your official and personal life and live within the ambits of the law.”
“It is through this that you will excel in your chosen military career and be role models to your contemporaries in the civil sector.”
On his part, the Commandant, Nigerian Navy Basic Training School Onne, Commodore Abubakar Umar while appreciating naval hierarchy for supporting the school, gave assurance that the quality of training given to the ratings would see them through a successful naval career.
Commodore Umar expressed optimism that the institution will continue to promote excellence in its programmes.
Present at the event were Chief of the Naval Staff, AZ Gambo, other top military personnel serving and retied, political office holders and traditional rulers.