Gov Wike gunboats have no communication, gunnery facilities – Naval source
The last has not been heard about the accusation of the Governor of River State, Nyesom Wike, asking the Nigerian Navy to return eight gunboats donated to the force if they refused to deploy them to tackle the menace sea pirates, protection of the people and other maritime criminals.
The eight gunboats were donated by Gov Wike and commissioned by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Oloniskan on the 28th April, 2017.
The Governor while making an appraisal of his two years in office, asked the Nigerian Navy to return his gunboats if the Naval Command in River refuses to use it to patrol the waterways.
However, a senior naval officer who spoke to National Daily during the Ceremonial Sunset held at the Naval Dockyard in Victoria Island, Lagos as part of the 61st anniversary of the force disclosed that the gunboats donated by the River State Government to the navy had “no communication and gunnery facilities” to make them deployable to the sea.
The naval officer who spoke anonymously explained that despite the governor’s demand to have the boats returned, the naval authority will not succumb to it. “Let me tell you, we are not returning the boats. We cannot deploy the boats now because they have no gun and communication equipment.
“Everybody knows that the navy cannot deploy such boats without those facilities. How are we going to use it against the criminals who are armed”?
While asking the force to return the boats, Wike said last Monday, “Let me say clearly, since we handed over these gunboats to the Nigerian Navy, I have not seen them plying on our waters. And so, I want to call the Nigerian Navy that one of the conditions while I gave out those boats is to ply the territorial waters of Rivers State.
“So, I plead with the Naval Commander that if the gunboats are not used, they should return them to us. We want the gunboats for the protection of life and property of Rivers people and those who do business in Rivers. We do not provide it for other states to use,” he said.
The source further reiterated, “I think Gov Nyesom Wike should be told the truth that those boats cannot be deployed now because of those facilities that are lacking.
“No, we would not return the boats. The Governor gave us the boats without some facilities that would enhance optimal functionality. We need to provide communication equipment and gunnery facilities.
“Somebody should have told him that all these things are needed to make it functional.”