• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Tinubu urges Navy to secure nation’s maritime future, seeks regional, global alliance

Tinubu urges Navy to secure nation’s maritime future, seeks regional, global alliance

…Commissions 3 warships, 2 helicopters, opens Nigerian Navy International Maritime Conference

…Says, Africa must utilise investment opportunities in Nigeria’s Blue Economy

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday commissioned three Warships and two Helicopters by the Nigerian Navy at the Naval Dockyard Limited (NDL), Lagos.

The President, who was represented by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, also flagged off a Regional Maritime Exercise (REMEX) and declared the NN International Maritime Conference (IMC) 2024, open.

The activities were to commemorate the Nigerian Navy’s 68th anniversary.

The President invited countries worldwide, especially those on the African continent, to take advantage of the investment opportunities that abound in Nigeria’s blue economy.

He urged the Nigerian Navy and its African partners as well as other stakeholders to focus on achieving a secure and prosperous maritime future that is beneficial to all, saying Nigeria cannot afford to fail in its responsibilities to Africa and the world at large.

President Tinubu also observed that while a flourishing blue economy is the bedrock of every vibrant nation, the only way to attain such an economy is through “a progressive naval force.”

He sought the commitment and devotion of officers of the Nigerian Navy and their international affiliates, describing them as “the lifeguards of our maritime environment, ” and applauded Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla’s anti-crude oil theft operations which, he noted, has led to increasing levels oil production for Nigeria.

The conference theme, ‘Promoting the Blue Economy in Africa through International Cooperation on Maritime Security’ was poised to engender discourse on how to optimise the benefits of the Blue Economy for economic growth.

In his speech titled, ‘It’s Time to Secure Our Maritime Future,’ which was read by Vice President Shettima, the President said: “This conference must inspire all stakeholders to see the big picture—that we cannot afford to fail in our responsibilities to the continent and, indeed, the entire world.

“Let us work towards a maritime future that is secure, prosperous, sustainable, and beneficial to all our people and the generations to come. I urge you all to feel at home and take advantage of the investment opportunities that abound in Nigeria’s blue economy.”

Noting that the participants at the conference have a role to play in the bid to maximise the potential of the blue economy which he pegged per year at $1.5 trillion globally and $300 billion continentally, President Tinubu said, “The wealth of Africa can never be realised unless we prioritise the protection and development of our maritime environment.

“The blue economy is estimated to be worth more than US $1.5 trillion per year globally and is projected to increase to US $15.5 trillion by 2050. The “Africa Blue Economy Strategy” estimates that the blue economy currently generates nearly US $300 billion for the continent, creating 49 million jobs in the process. The Africa Blue Economy is projected to hit US $405 billion by 2030,” he further projected

He congratulated the Nigerian Navy on its 68th Anniversary, saying the nation remains immensely grateful for the service it has rendered in the past 68 years, “serving as a critical pillar of our security,” even as he applauded the marine forces for creating “a sense of balance and stability” in the country.

Specifically, the President commended the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, and the naval officers for “creating a safe and secure environment for economic growth and prosperity.”

According to him, “There is no greater incentive to ensure that the infrastructure and technologies at the disposal of the Nigerian Navy are of the highest sophistication than the successes we have witnessed in our anti-crude oil theft crusade since I assumed office in 2023. This has contributed immensely to the higher oil production levels we have seen.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ogalla, said the outcome of the 2024 International Maritime Conference organised to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Nigerian Navy will go a long way in enhancing its capabilities and strengthening existing collaborations in safeguarding the nation’s maritime environment.

He added that the forum would also offer a veritable platform to consolidate on the achievements of the combined maritime task force in support of the development of the blue economy on the continent, in the sub-region and the nation in particular.

On his part, the Minister of State for Defence, Matawalle, urged participants at the conference and partners of the Nigerian Navy to come up with innovative ways by which the navies in the sub-region can discharge their duties, and for Nigeria, in actualising the vision of President Tinubu for the safety and security of the nation’s maritime environment.

The Deputy Governor of Lagos, Obafemi Hamzat, while acknowledging the significant strides of the Nigerian Navy, especially in safeguarding the country’s maritime domain, said the conference showcases the country’s rich maritime heritage and the efforts of the navies in the Gulf of Guinea.

Meanwhile, on arrival at the Naval Dockyard in Victoria Island, the Vice President commissioned three newly acquired Naval Ships – Nigerian Navy Ship OCHUZO, Nigerian Navy Ship CHALAWA, and Nigerian Navy Ship ZUR, as well as two helicopters – Nigerian Navy 412 and Nigerian Navy 414.