Nigerian Navy Capable Of Tackling Maritime Security Challenges In Africa – President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

…flags off maritime conference in Lagos

By: Okosun Dennis

The soaring scorecard of the Nigerian Navy at tackling myriad of security challenges in Africa’s maritime environment has received further impetus as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu says that the force has continued to confront contending issues, by adopting the most optimal policies and strategies to address the rapidly changing security challenges in our nation.

Declaring open the 2024 International Maritime Conference, Regional Maritime Exercise and a Maritime Exhibition as part of the activities of the 68th anniversary of the Nigerian Navy at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos on Thursday, 30th May, 2024, noted that the force has imbibed the realities of our national imperatives.

While re-emphasizing the importance of the Navy as a branch of the Armed Forces, President Tinubu, who was represented by the Vice President Kashim Shettima, explained that it has over the years evolved and reinvented itself to effectively deal with the threats in the maritime domains.

In that direction, he reiterated, it has also partnered with other maritime agencies to mitigate these threats affecting our national development; threats that have become transnational, beyond the scope and capability of one nation to deal with the situation hence calls for greater international collaboration.

Significantly, the President disclosed that “the blue economy is estimated to be worth more than US $1.5 trillion per year globally and projected to increase to US $15.5 trillion by 2050. The Africa Blue Economy Strategy estimates that the blue economy currently generates nearly US $300 billion for the continent, creating 49 million jobs in the process, adding that Africa Blue Economy is projected to hit US $405 billion by 2030.”

He observed that the conference wouldn’t have come at a better time than now especially at a time Nigeria is faced with critical multifaceted security challenges. Therefore, he added that it calls for improvement in security conditions required to significantly raise the contribution of the marine and blue economy sector to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, therefore, commended the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, officers and men, for championing the anti-crude oil theft crusade since he assumed office in 2023, galvanizing into the higher oil production level witnessed in recent times.

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In his welcome remarks, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla disclosed that Maritime threats, which are transnational in nature has the propensity to hamper potentials of the blue economy of nations hence it requires international collaborative efforts to combat.

With the theme of the Conference: “Promoting the Blue Economy in Africa through International Cooperation on Maritime Security”, added that the Conference would provide a viable platform to collectively develop strategies in addressing Africa’s inherent security challenges arising from development of the Blue Economy.

Noting that the operationalisation of the Combined Maritime Task Force in 2023 with Headquarters in Lagos and with a Nigerian Navy officer designated as Commander of the Task Force while the 3 Task Groups of the Task Force, which covers the Northern, Central and Southern sectors of the Gulf of Guinea are hosted by Senegal, Nigeria and Republic of Congo respectively, has yielded positive results.

The Governor of Lagos, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat said, “the Nigerian Navy has made huge efforts in safeguarding our nation’s waters, protecting our maritime resources, and ensuring the safety and security of maritime activities.

“The NN’s dedication and bravery have been pivotal in combating piracy, smuggling, and other maritime threats, contributing to the peace and stability of our region.”

While commending the NN for their innovative ways at improving professionalism and efficiency, the Minister of Defence, Dr Bello Mohammed Matawalle added that it would translate to a secured maritime environment for the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria and all Seafarers to conduct legitimate business for economic prosperity and national development.

“Since the establishment of the Nigerian Navy 68 years ago, it has been a symbol of pride to the Nation carrying out its duties of safeguarding the economic interests of the nation with diligence and unparalleled professionalism, Dr Matawalle reiterated.

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