By Henry Oladele
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ette Ibas, says the Nigerian Navy needs 250 million dollars to refit its war ship, NNS ARADU, for maritime operations.
Ibas, however, told journalists at the navy’s 61st anniversary celebrations in Lagos on Thursday that refitting NNS ARADU was not an option for now.
“To refit NNS ARADU, the nation would need over 250 million dollars and that is not what the it can afford for now.
“We desire to have the ship at sea but as soon as the navy is properly funded, we should be able to refit that vessel and have it at sea,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NNS ARADU is one of the three ships in the world with capabilities for simultaneous anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare.
The ship also has capability for electronic warfare and naval fire support.
Ibas said that the Federal Government had provided a lot for the navy but the navy still needed more.
“We all understand that the navy is an important service that protects the nation’s maritime resources and needs to be given special consideration.
“A lot has been provided for the navy in a certain way so we have to work out other strategies to ensure that we are able to carry out our mandate,” he said.
According to him, the nation has faced a lot of ups and downs following series of attacks on national security infrastructure in the last few years.
“The consequences of which resulted to the drop in the nation’s revenue coming from oil but it was perfectly restored and we were able to contain the menace with the dedicated taskforce.
“To that extent, we have been able to provide the needed security at sea and we were able to contain the menace of militants and keep them away.
“This is in addition to the dialogue initiated by the Federal Government.
“You are also conversant with the issue of piracy, which the navy has been able to contain with our credible presence at sea,” he said.
Ibas added that in the last two years, the navy got some boats which were inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This is in addition to various infrastructural logistics and welfare to the officers and men,” the CNS said.
The CNS condemned the bloody clash between navy and police men in Cross River, stating that the incident was being probed to bring the perpetrators to book.