President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday expressed confidence that President-elect, Bola Tinubu, when sworn in as Nigeria’s next President on May 29, 2023, would build on his legacy.
Buhari said this yesterday at the Presidential Fleet Review, 2023, at the Naval Dockyard Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos, where he recalled some of the achievements and contributions of his administration to the force.
The outgoing Nigerian leader said he was pleased with the military’s combat readiness to do more. Buhari boasts that Tinubu would continue to provide crucial support to the Nigerian Navy, maintaining the positive trajectory achieved during his tenure.
Wonder9ja understands that the Presidential Fleet Review is the last to be attended by Buhari as President and Commander-in-Chief, having remained in power for eight years.
At the event, Buhari expressed immense satisfaction with the array of naval assets on display and the combat readiness of the Nigerian military.
Recognizing the nation’s pride in the navy’s numerous achievements during his eight-year administration, the President stated: “I do not doubt that the incoming administration of President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will sustain the current tempo of my administration in giving the Navy necessary support to carry out its assigned tasks effectively.
“My best wishes to our Navy for protecting our maritime domain and the economic prosperity of Nigeria. I wish you all fair winds as I leave office on May 29. ONWARD TOGETHER, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
On the administration’s efforts in recapitalizing the Navy Fleet in the last seven years, the President listed the acquisition of 20 capital ships for the Navy, comprising offshore patrol vessels, landing ship transports, hydrographic survey vessels, seaward defence boats, helicopters, as well as over 300 inshore patrol vessels and assault craft, hoping that under Tinubu’s leadership, the Navy would continue to acquire new assets, expand shipbuilding for export purposes, promote indigenous production, intensify the fight against piracy, and address issues on crude oil theft in Nigeria’s maritime domain.
The Nigerian leader noted the significant reduction in piracy over the past seven years, leading to Nigeria’s removal from the list of piracy-prone countries by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB, in March 2022.
He applauded the application of technology in securing the maritime domain, which facilitated the intelligence-driven deployment of naval ships and enhanced their effectiveness.
Buhari specifically commended the diligent prosecution of MT HEROIC IDUN, which was detected and apprehended for attempting to load crude oil without authorization offshore Bonny in August 2022.
He noted that this successful interdiction further reaffirmed the navy’s commitment to protecting the country’s resources.
President Buhari, who acknowledged the significance of the diverse ships and helicopters on display, noted that it symbolized the nation’s maritime power and its preparedness to carry out the Navy’s constitutional roles.
Praising the impressive combat displays staged by elements of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service, alongside a combination of assets from the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force, he said: “I expect this to translate into the actual capability to dominate Nigeria’s maritime environment and secure the vast resources therein for the socio-economic development of our great country.”
Furthermore, the President highlighted the strong link between maritime security and economic prosperity.
Given that the maritime environment serves both as a storehouse of resources and a medium for maritime transport in the country, he stressed the importance of the safe and secure utilization of these resources to drive national prosperity and support Nigeria’s aspirations for a thriving blue economy.
During the fleet review, President Buhari also inaugurated several notable additions to the Navy’s fleet, including a new helicopter, NN410, manufactured in Italy, as well as the landing ship transport NNS KADA, constructed in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Wonder9ja understands.
He thanked the People’s Republic of China for the generous donation of NNS IBENO, highlighting the importance of mutual military cooperation with partner nations, which had also encouraged local shipbuilding efforts by the Nigerian Navy.
He declared that the Nigerian Navy’s endeavours in indigenous shipbuilding, in line with the nation’s local content development plan, had yielded positive outcomes.
“Our naval engineers were wholly responsible for building three seaward defence boats, namely NNS ANDONI, NNS KARADUWA and NNS OJI. In December 2021, I performed a keel laying foundation for the construction of 2 Seaward Defence Boats, which will be ready by 2024.
“At this rate, I have no doubt that our 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,’’ the President said.