The Senate Committee on Navy has promised to strengthen naval operations for enhanced maritime security and economic growth.
Senator George Sekibo, the chairman of the committee, who led other members including Senator Elisha Abo, made the pledge in Calabar, Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
Sekibo, who said the committee was on a familiarization tour of naval formations, commended the Flag Officer Commanding, FOC, the Eastern Naval Command, ENC, Rear Admiral David Adeniran and his team for a job well done.
He said, “we are here on a familiarization tour of facilities at the Eastern Naval Command to see what is on ground; the navy area of operations and difficulties”.
According to him, “the challenges mentioned are due to a paucity of funds and lack of adequate budgetary provisions. The budget for 2020 is almost gone. But, 2021 will soon come and when that comes, the committee will look at it properly and every area that needs specific interventions would be addressed”.
Based on observations made of facilities during the tour of the various naval units in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, Sekibo noted, “we have seen the jetty here, we have gone to the reference hospital and to other places. In terms of input, they (ENC) are doing very well”.
He argued that the FOC and his team deserve commendation for investing available funds to meet pressing needs within the command and expressed the hope that with increased allocation, the navy would do more.
The senators at the Navy reference hospital in Calabar inspecting ongoing projects.
“We commend the Flag Officer Commanding and all the officers in the command. The little they have, they are investing it appropriately. We believe that since they are using the little well and we have the opportunity to give them more, they are going to do more,” the chairman stated.
He, however, urged personnel of the Eastern Naval Command not to rest on its oars in securing the nations maritime domain, which hosts Nigeria’s greatest economic asset.
The Senator said, “We will encourage them (the navy) to still do more within the maritime domain because the Nigerian business of crude oil comes from the swampy areas and the maritime domain. They have tried to bring us where we are today because we are much better than where we were five years ago”.
“But, we still have much to do. I believe the navy has to double its efforts and on our part, we will endeavour to allocate more resources to them as they have promised to work harder to provide security along the nation’s waterways to prevent unscrupulous people from taking our oil illegally,” he emphasized.
Also in a brief remark, the FOC, Rear Admiral Adeniran expressed satisfaction that the legislators would consider the request made by the command through the naval headquarters.
Adeniran stated, “We will pass our requirement to the naval headquarters for harmonization and from there to the national assembly. However, we view the assurances of the senate committee as very encouraging. We are sure that they will oblige the navy her requests.”
The committee inspected ongoing and completed projects in the Calabar area including the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, the primary and secondary schools, jetties and barracks as well as its flagship digital surveillance facility, Falcon Eye.
Prior to the tour, the committee paid a courtesy visit on the FOC, where members urged the navy to key into the Nigerian Governments housing scheme to address accommodation for personnel after retirement.
The visit featured a multimedia presentation of the achievements and challenges of the Eastern Naval Command was presented to the legislators by the Staff Officer Grade One Operations, Commander B. L. Akanbi.
Source: Voice of Nigeria