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By Okosun Dennis


President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed satisfaction with the application of technology to secure the maritime domain by leveraging the intelligence-driven deployment of ships.

This, he said, led to the arrest, diligent arraignment, and persecution of MT HEROIC IDUN, for attempting to steal crude oil, offshore Bonny in August 2022 without authorisation.

He spoke as the Reviewing Officer and the Special Guest of Honour at the 2023 Presidential Fleet Review held in his honour on Monday, 22nd May 2023, at the Naval Dockyard Jetty, Victoria Island, Lagos.

With enthusiasm and a deep sense of fulfillment, he explained that the successful conviction of the ship further confirms the navy’s resolve to protect resources for economic prosperity.

“The sea is a common factor that joins nations rather than separates them.  I am aware that the Nigerian Navy regularly collaborates with navies from partner nations to boost synergy in addressing illegalities within the Gulf of Guinea, especially during joint exercises such as Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS, Exercise GRAND AFRICA NEMO, and Exercise FLINTLOCK among others.

“These exercises have enhanced the Nigerian Navy’s interoperability and readiness for Maritime Security Operations.  I want to sincerely appreciate heads of navies and coast guards as well as foreign allies for this synergy and cooperation,” he reiterated.

He commended the Government of Lagos State and other maritime stakeholders for the critical support given to the Nigerian Navy in conducting this Fleet Review, adding that half of Nigerian maritime trade pass-through ports are located in Lagos and as such continues to be a lifeline for the nation’s industry and economy.

This strategic importance further underscores the necessity of cordial relations. I wish to congratulate the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwul Zubairu Gambo, and the entire navy personnel for the splendid conduct of this historic event. As your outgoing President and Commander-in-Chief, this is a moment of immense joy and satisfaction for me. The nation is proud of your numerous achievements.

“I have no doubt that the incoming administration of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu will sustain the current tempo of my administration in giving the Nigerian Navy the necessary support to effectively carry out its assigned tasks. My best wishes to the Nigerian Navy for protecting our maritime domain for the economic prosperity of Nigeria.

On the Navy’s ship-building prowess, President Buhari said that in December 2021, he performed keel laying foundation for the construction of two Seaward Defence Boats, which will be ready by 2024, adding that at the rate the force was going, he has no doubt that the Nigerian Navy will soon commence construction of larger ships for itself and other navies in the region and beyond.  This achievement is a great pride to Nigeria and an impressive contribution to national development.

This is why the theme of this 2023 Fleet Review, “Fleet Readiness for National Prosperity” was carefully chosen to underscore the response capability of the Nigerian Navy to infringements in our maritime spaces and in the Gulf of Guinea towards the attainment of national prosperity.

In his welcome remarks, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwul Zubairu Gambo reiterated that the recapitalization of the naval fleets have enhanced combating maritime crimes and reduction in maritime criminal activities that led to the delisting of  Nigeria by the International Maritime Bureau from piracy prone countries.

The President, after reviewing the parade mounted by about 145 men and other remarkable functions, boarded NNS SOKOTO to commission NNS IBENO, NNS KADA, and one AW 109E on board.

In Nigeria, the tradition of Fleet Review dates back to 01 September 1981 when late President Shehu Shagari reviewed the Nigerian Navy (NN) Fleet and presented new colours to the Navy.

Since then, the NN had successfully organised three PFRs, carried out on 12th August 1987, 23rd September 1992, 2nd June 2006, and 29th September 2010 during Nigeria’s Golden Jubilee Anniversary.

The 2023 Presidential Fleet Review was rounded off with Cultural Night at the Admiralty Hall Naval Dockyard.

In attendance were the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd); Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya and Airforce counterpart, Air Marshall Amao and the Inspector General of Police, who was represented by AIG Yekini Ayoku.

Others were the former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd), Defence Attaches of several countries, former Chiefs of Naval Staff, General Officers Commanding, Air Officers Commanding, and Flag Officers Commanding. Other were traditional rulers including Oni of Ife and Seriki Kano and the National President of the Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA), Alhaja Gambo.



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