Abuja February 14, 2016 (AAN) — The Nigerian Navy (NN) has disclosed that most of its jetties are not safe for storing weapons and ammunition, and are not in conditions where vessels in its fleet can berth.
It therefore sought the assistance of the House of Representatives Committee on Navy to access part of the $60 billion China-Africa development fund to address significant infrastructure deficit being faced by the Navy.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas speaking during the budget defence before the committee recently, listed several challenges being experienced by the Navy in discharge of its mandate.
The Committee headed by Hon. Abdulsamad Dasuki (Sokoto APC) heard that only 35 percent of NN personnel are resident in its barracks, and others have to reside among civilian populace.
The development, Ibas said, makes prompt mobilisation of personnel difficult. "Most of our ships have been relocated to Port Harcourt, because of the challenge of berthing them. We would have berth them in Lagos, but the Ports Authority has concessioned the areas we would have done that. Most of our jetties are not in good condition...our jetties are not conducive for storage of weaponry and ammunition," he said.
He added that the NN has come under increased pressure in the face of contemporary security challenges such as crude oil theft, attacks on vessels and others. Other sources of funding for the NN such as establishing a Trustfund where stakeholders in the sector can make contributions, can be explored, he suggested.
Speaking earlier, Dasuki commended the NN for foiling an attempt by sea pirates to hijack a Maersk merchant ship bearing cargo to Nigeria. The ship, Safmarine Kuramo, had 25 foreigners on board. Dasuki said the NN has been living up to expectations in recent times. The rest of the budget defence held behind closed doors due to security issues on the agenda.