President Tinubu Inaugurates Three Warships, Two Helicopters To Curb Maritime Crimes

President Bola Tinubu has inaugurated three Nigerian Navy (NN) ships and two helicopters at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos, with a directive to significantly reduce maritime crimes.

Represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, Tinubu emphasized the importance of the navy’s role in enhancing the Africa Blue Economy project through strategic partnerships.

Speaking at the Navy’s 68th-anniversary events, Tinubu highlighted the navy’s consistent efforts to tackle evolving security challenges with effective policies and strategies. He praised the navy’s ongoing commitment to safeguarding Nigeria’s maritime interests and adapting to new threats in the region.

At the International Maritime Conference, themed “Promoting the Blue Economy in Africa through International Cooperation on Maritime Security,” Tinubu underscored the alignment of the conference’s objectives with key international and continental goals. These include the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, the Vision of Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050, and Africa’s Agenda 2063. He emphasized that the conference provided an essential platform for stakeholders to develop collaborative strategies against maritime crimes in Africa.

Tinubu stressed that the conference’s timing was crucial, given Nigeria’s current security challenges. He noted that improving maritime security is vital for enhancing the contribution of the marine and blue economy sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By addressing these challenges, the country aims to unlock the economic potential of its maritime domain and drive sustainable development.

He said: “Significantly, the blue economy is estimated to be worth more than US $1.5 trillion per year globally and 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. It is very appropriate to state categorically that any collaborative initiative by the Nigerian Navy to build partnerships across African navies and Coast Guards is in the right direction.”

The Nigerian Navy, according to him, had over the years evolved and reinvented itself to effectively deal with the threats in the maritime domains and had also partnered with other maritime agencies to mitigate the threats affecting the country’s national development.

He said: “These threats have become transnational, beyond the scope and capability of one nation to deal with. The situation calls for greater international collaboration.”

“With the array of distinguished officers present at this event from outside the shores of our country, it is very obvious that the Nigerian Navy has assembled a remarkable group of outstanding persons with extensive and much desired collaborative commitment towards finding solutions to the myriad of security challenges in Africa’s maritime environment.”

The Minister of State, Defence, Dr. Bello Matawalle, in his remarks, noted the Navy has been a symbol of pride to the country, diligently carrying out its duties of safeguarding her economic interests with unparalleled professionalism.

He expressed optimism that the deliberations during the conference would produce innovative ways to improve professionalism and efficiency, translating to a secure maritime environment for the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria, and all seafarers, to conduct legitimate businesses for economic prosperity and national development.

“I believe that the outcomes of this conference will contribute to actualising the vision of the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for a prosperous Nigeria.”

Chief of the Naval Staff, CNS, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, described maritime threats as transnational in nature and capable of hampering the potential of the blue economy of nations.

He said ameliorating these threats was beyond the scope and capability of one nation but required international collaborative efforts.