THE Nigerian Navy, Friday inaugurated the course 1 2017 on the Naval War College, Ubima in Rivers State declaring that the service is now, more than ever before focused on various operations at combating criminalities and illegal activities in the nation`s maritime domain. Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali who inaugurated the course said these efforts have resulted in docking of many capital ships with others benefitting from extensive refit and major overhauls of machinery and equipment. Speaking while inaugurating the Course 1 of the Naval War College Nigeria, Friday at Ubima, the Minister pointed to the expansion of the Nigerian Navy fleet by injection of new platforms through a programme of fleet recapitalization. He said that the courses of study of the War College are envisaged to support the objective of the Nigerian Navy training efforts, which according to him “is to enhance the capability of the naval officers to make sound decisions in both command and management positions”.“To do this, the college is programmed to emphasise intellectual development and academic excellence. It has been tasked to develop senior naval leaders and equivalents from other services as operational level commanders with thorough appreciation of complex national security problems who are prepared to make sound decisions in the application of maritime force as a policy option”, Dan-Ali stated. He charged the course participants; “Today, your start is a humble beginning, but so is always with things of great future and prospects. However, I enjoin you not to miss the significance, which is the fact that we are stepping into another realm in the efforts to keep with the traditions and vision first established by our founding fathers”. He added; “It is important to stress that success in this environment requires much more than tactical competence, it requires judicious anddecntralised employment of that competence at all levels; tactically, operationally and strategically. And the key enabler of the decntralised employment is knowledge. It is for the purpose of advancing this knowledge that you have been gathered here”. In his remarks, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibasi said that because of the strategic location of Nigeria as a coastal country and importance of her maritime domain, huge economic activities are attracted to her territory in addition to the negative criminal activities the consequences of such activities. The CNS state; “The implication of all these is that Nigeria maritime environment is strategic to her survival and prosperity of her citizens and the sustenance of our pre-eminence in the comity of nations”. “It is however, regrettable that the status of her maritime as the economic hub of the sub region has also brought about the unintended consequences of attracting criminals in the mix”, he added identifying the challenges to include piracy, sea robbery, kidnapping for ransom, crude oil theft and illegal bunkering, unregulated, unreported and illegal fishing, trafficking in humans, small arms and illicit drugs, sabotage of oil and gas infrastructure. He stated further; ”It must also be considered as grave implication that several security challenges on ground are fueled by proliferation of small arms and light weapons most of which are illegally imported or smuggled through the sea or the adjourning creeks. Collectively these threats pose serious security and economic challenges to the nation, Nigerian Navy and other security agencies”. “As a proactive measure towards addressing the trend, the naval command has continually reviewed the adopted operational concept towards efficient resource utilisation and protection of maritime
Activities. Gladly these initiative has substantially, reduced the menace of piracy and sea robbery as well as remarkable containment of crude oil theft and activities of illegal refiners”.
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