The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, on Friday said President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration placed high premium on maritime security as a prerequisite for the economic well-being of Nigeria.
Jibrin made the assertion when he inspected the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) “Centenary’’ as it arrived in Lagos.
The ship which arrived at about 10 a.m. from China to the Naval Dockyard Ltd. Jetty in Lagos was welcomed by senior officers of the Nigerian Navy and captains of industries.
Jibrin, welcoming the officers and ratings to the arrival of the first purpose built NN Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), said it would enhance the capacity of the Navy to execute its constitutional roles.
“This will also open a new vista in Nigeria and China relations. Effective maritime security is a prerequisite for the economic well-being of Nigeria in view of the country’s heavy dependence on the sea.
“I am glad to acknowledge that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan recognises this imperative.
“He has given unprecedented support to the fleet recapitalization which is the pillar of the NN Transformation Plan for the period 2010 to 2020.
“The arrival of NNS Centenary in Nigeria bears testimony to the commitment and resolve of the president to emplace a strong and virile navy capable of protecting Nigeria’s maritime interest against all forms of threat,’’ he said.
Jibrin said that the ship was one of the two OPVs acquired from china, adding that the second one should arrive in the country later in the year.
“A substantial part of the second vessel’s finishing and fittings will be done here in Nigeria.
“This is to enhance Nigeria’s Indigenous Shipbuilding Capacity and create job for our unemployed youths,’’ he said.
Jibrin, thanked the president for his unflinching support to the Navy and the officers and ratings of the NNS Centenary for their endurance and dedication to duty.
The representative of the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Kan Lieu, who was present at the event, said China and Nigeria had a cordial relationship.
“The trade volume as at 2014 between Nigeria and China amounted to 18.1 billion dollars,’’ he said.
Also present at the ceremony was the Flag Officers Commanding, Commordores and other senior officers.