As part of its oversight function, the House of Representatives Committee on the Navy on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction with the paucity of funds appropriated to the Nigerian Navy.
In an interview with the press at the NNS Wey, Ojo, the Committee Chairman, Hon Abdussamad Dasuki promised to meet with other committee members on the navy with a view to appropriating more funds to meet its demands.
According to Dasuki, “We are here as part of our constitutional responsibilities of oversight functions. We started this last week at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja where we looked at the books with regards to the 2018 appropriation.
“We have seen most of the projects. Today, we are here at the Western Naval Command, Lagos, to see on ground what we saw on paper.
“We have seen a couple of projects – construction at the new stadium at the Navy Town and accommodation for officers. We were also on board the new ships acquired by the Nigerian Navy.
Noting that the force was not receiving adequate funding, Hon Dasuki noted, “I think the releases from the Ministry of Finance has been very poor. From what we have seen, the releases from the ministry is not encouraging.
“Probably, we have to tell our colleagues in the house to make sure that the Armed Forces in particular get more financial support to ensure that they can carry out their responsibilities and complete most of the ongoing projects,” he reiterated.
However, he observed that, “We are quite impressed with what we have seen on ground. So far, the Nigerian Navy are working based on the releases made available to them.
Reacting to time frame to complete ongoing projects, Hon Dasuki pointed out that “it depends on releases made available to the force. We shall communicate with other committees and let them know that their releases to the navy have been very poor.
Hon. Dasuki, however, commended the navy for its high level of professionalism saying that at the house, we have received the least petition from the navy compared to other security agencies.
“In the House of Representatives, the Nigerian Navy have the least petitions among the military and paramilitary agencies and I think this is due to professionalism in the service. I want to use this opportunity to commend the ratings and officers for their Civil-Military relationships.
“We appreciate that and we want the Chief of the Naval Staff and its men to sustain the high tempo of relationships. We are proud of you in terms of that. Keep it up. I also commend you for the protection of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and other critical infrastructures like the pipelines.
“It is because of your professionalism that the militants have been pushed away and you no longer hear of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta area, he noted.
On providing them more platforms, the Chairman, who led 20 other members of the house to the Western Naval Command said “we are working with the International Maritime Fund and to that effect, we have presented a bill which the President didn’t assent to but we are considering overriding the President on that bill because of National interest.
During the one-day oversight functions of the house committee to naval formations and establishments, the honourable members inspected the ongoing jetties at the Headquarters, Western Naval Command; four blocks of three storey building comprising 32 flats of two bed room apartment for Lieutenants and the ongoing Navy Town Stadium, which has reached 75% completion.
Earlier, receiving the Committee members at the Headquarters, West, the Flag Officer Command, Western Naval Command, (FOC), Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak led the Committee Chairman to inspect the Quarter Guard.
On his part, Admiral Ngalabak said there was no doubt that the Nigerian Navy deserves adequate funding to carry out its functions and responsibilities.
“It is obvious we need more funding considering the standpoint of the honourable Committee Chairman, Hon Abdussamad Dasuki on the Navy. I am happy he has promised to talk to the relevant people to get more funding for us.
On ensuring the waterways remain safe for economic activities, the FOC reiterated that they have made some arrest in Badagry and are going to intensify efforts considering that this is yuletide period.
He further stated that the Operation Awatse’s Operation 777 enunciated by the Defence Headquarters, would embark on a-7-day operation which would take us to the end of the year, an operation designed to rout all the criminals from their comfort zones and stop their illegalities.
On the present state of NNS Aradu, the FOC explained that she is currently in the Dockyard and receiving maintenance.
Admiral Ngalabak, however, assured Lagos residence that the waterways would remain safe as the navy is working together with the inland water ways to ensure that in case of any emergency, ‘we shall support them adequately.”