President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday in Lagos assured Nigerians of routing the Boko Haram sect as he inaugurated four new ships procured by the Nigerian Navy.
“Let me use this platform to promise my Nigeria country men and women that we will rout Boko Haram,’’ Mr. Jonathan said at the Naval Dockyard Ltd in Victoria Island venue of the inauguration.
“Our capacity has increased sufficiently and our officers and men are doing wonderfully well in the north and we must conduct our elections as scheduled by INEC.
“I commend the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Usman Jibrin, Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh and other service chiefs, officers and ratings who have made this inauguration possible,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan, who said crude oil theft had reduced, added that he was delighted to witness the inauguration of the four new ships that were added to the Nigerian Navy fleet.
“As the lead maritime security agency, therefore, the NN deserves all the support it needs to effectively carry out its statutory roles.
“The four ships being inaugurated today are part of a total of eight ships that are expected to be commissioned into the NN fleet in 2015,” he said.
The president said the inauguration gave him the opportunity to once again reaffirm his confidence in the competence and commitment of the officers and ratings in the Nigerian Navy.
After inaugurating the ships, Mr. Jonathan proceeded into NNS Centenary, alongside senior officers,
ministers, Oba of Lagos and some members of the Navy Officers Wives Association (NOWA) for inspection.
In his speech, Mr. Jibrin also said the Nigerian Navy would not have achieved the meaningful progress it had made in its fleet re-capitalisation effort without the active support of the Federal Government.
He thanked the president for his resolve to emplace strong and a virile Navy capable of protecting Nigeria’s maritime interest against all forms of threat.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ships; NNS Centenary, NNS Prosperity, NNS Okpabana and NNS Sagbama were handed over to their commanding officers.
Mr. Jibrin handed over the ships to Capt. CD Okehie, Capt. MY Abba, Capt. AM Ibrahim and Capt. BK Effiong respectively.
According to the CNS, NNS Okpabana is to be enrolled in the NN as a frigate with capabilities for long endurance patrol of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“The NNS Centenary’s main mission will include maritime surveillance, EEZ, patrol and response task and protection of offshore resources and infrastructure.
“The Centenary is to also provide aid to civil authority when called upon to do so in period such as civil unrest and natural disaster among others.
“NNS Sagbama is a river town patrol vessel, while NNS Prosperity is to be enrolled into the NN as a training ship for junior officers and ratings,’’ he said.
The dignitaries present were Minister of Defence, Aliyu Gusau, Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah, Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh and Chief of Air Staff, Adesola Amosun.
Others are the Oba of Lagos, Riliwan Akiolu, members of the diplomatic corps, and ministers.