National Assembly to secure maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters to Nigerian Navy

The National Assembly said it would make funds available for the procurement of patrol aircraft, Maritime patrol aircraft, and helicopters as well as refurbish other worn out facilities in the Nigerian Navy, Eastern Naval command.

The House Committee Chairman on Navy, Mr Yusuf Gagdi, disclosed this on Tuesday at the Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area during a tour of facilities in the Command.

He said, “We don’t know how much we need to fix the problems. I can only tell you the platforms, we need patrol aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and other platforms but I cannot tell you the attendant financial implications.”

He, however, promised that funds were going to be raised from any available quarter, legitimised and the Federal Government would be directed to use it to take care of the challenges in the base which have already been noted and compiled.

He said his tour around the base showed that the officers and men of FOB, Ibaka were working but under strenuous conditions which was not helping to make their output optimal.

He noted that since the problems and challenges of the base were technical in nature, they would have to be passed through the professional consultants in the National Assembly to determine their financial implications.

“We are not surprised to see the achievement recorded in intercepting some diesels that are meant to be exported to countries like Cameroon and others.

“For our Navy to have helped Nigerian Customs, Nigerian Police and other related security organisations that are supposed to join hands in combating this economic sabotage related crime, I am happy as the Chairman of the Nigerian Navy to see that the Navy are doing very well.

“He who is doing well should be commended and he who is doing well should be supported.

“They have their own jetty but it is a problem to them. They are achieving well but do not have enough facilities to function in the area of jetties.

“Most of the problems faced by the Nigerian Navy, there are some that we cannot wait for the end of the year before we appropriate funds to them. We will do the needful by using the powers provided by the National Assembly in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to ensure that we have legitimized some funds and direct the Federal Government to spend it in those regards.” He said.

Also speaking, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran who accompanied the House Committee Chairman on the visit said, “The visit of the Chairman and members of the House Committee on the Nigerian Navy is part of the oversight functions of the National Assembly.

“The visit enabled the Committee scrutinize utilization of funds provided for the Service and justify appropriations for more funding to meet the challenges of the Command.

“The Committee has seen the challenges of the Command, firsthand. The Nigerian Navy functions through its Commands and therefore the summation of the Commands’ challenges equal to that of the Navy.

“Invariably, adequate funding of the Nigerian Navy would ameliorate the challenges of the Command, including Eastern Naval Command.”