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Nigerian Navy

The Navy is known throughout Nigeria as the most corrupt of the services. There are six times as many general officers and flag officers in the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and Nigerian Navy (NN) as there are operational ships and aircraft. One official Nigerian Navy website warns "Please ignore all other websites claiming to belong to Nigerian Navy. Please ignore people or groups of people requesting for money for recruitment into the Nigerian Navy as the Nigerian Navy would never ask you to pay any sum of money for assistance."

In 2009 Nigeria announced an ambitious expansion plan, and while it may have been overly optimistic, in subsequent years the Navy did enjoy considerable rejuvenation. At any given time, until recently about 75% of the fleet was not operational. As stated in the Report of the Committee on the Role of the NN in the Affairs of the Nation by the Year 2010, all the NN ships were long overdue for major refurbishment and extensive refit. At May 2008 the NN inventory consisted of 100 platforms of various classes and types. However, only 28 of these platforms were operational and available. This represents 28 percent availability of platform for operational deployment. Most of the available platforms were not capable of sustained patrols and cannot remain at sea for more than 3 or 4 days.

According to the IISS Military Balance for 2007 the Nigerian Navy's operational forces included one MEKO 360 class frigate, NNS Aradu; one Vosper corvette, Enymiri (F 83); two modified Italian Lerici class coastal minesweepers (Ohue and Marabai, commissioned in 1987 and 1988 respectively); three French Combattante fast missile craft (Siri, Ayam, and Ekun); and four Balsam ocean patrol craft (ex buoy tenders). All these vessels are listed as having their serviceability in doubt. Jane's Fighting Ships reported in 2010 that Enymiri's sistership Erinomi was assessed in 1996 as beyond economical repair. Other vessels which may be operational are a German Luerssen 57-meter coastal patrol craft; twelve Defender patrol boats; the landing ship tank NNS Ambe (LST 1312); one survey vessel, and three tugs. In late 2006 and early 2007, a naval exercise was held which saw several previously thought unserviceable ships involved.

Nigeria National Shipping Lines (NNSL) was set up in 1958. NNSL increased its fleet steadily so that by 1980 she had 27 ships, but in 1994 she was put into receivership. The ships were sold to foreign interests at rock bottom prices. Subsequently, the NMA repurchased one of the ships after repairs from the buyer at six times the price it was sold. The failure of NNSL was accelerated by management ineptitude, political interference and massive corruption.

In order to fulfil roles assigned under the 1999 Constitution and the Armed Forces Decree 105 of 1993 as amended, the Nigerian Navy derived a maritime strategy tagged the Trident Strategy. It covers three broad areas of operation which are: sub-regional sea control in peace and war, effective coastal defence and efficient sealift and naval fire support for the Nigerian Army. From this Trident Strategy is derived the NN concept of Maritime Defence-in-Depth. This concept of operation spans the full range of naval operations from the inland waters to the blue sea. It also encompasses various maritime operations like mine warfare, sub surface, surface and above surface warfare and hydrography among others. Success in executing Nigerian Navy concept of operations depends on having operationally available ships of all types at all times. Goodupkeep practice and regular maintenance could provide such seaworthy vessels.

The Nigerian National Defence Policy confers huge responsibilities on the NN which could make her emerge as a Regional Force Projection Navy. The NN is expected to play a significant role in the proposed Gulf of Guinea Guard Force. On regional maritime security collaboration, it was resolved that the NN should spearhead international maritime security cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea on the basis of the Gulf of Guinea Commission and should in liaison with relevant government agencies, convene a conference of contracting states and other stakeholder for a common maritime security policy in the region as soon as possible. Pursuant to international maritime security collaboration, the Ministry of foreign Affairs should be contacted to begin confidence-building measures among member countries in the Gulf of Guinea Region to assure them that such collaborative efforts are in their common and collective interest.

The Nigerian Navy and Vision 20:2020 should establish the office of a Desk officer in the CP plans office with a view to maintaining effective liaison with the. National Technical Working Group (NTWG) of Vision 20:2020 in order to meet national economic aspirations. The NN is also to make inputs to the draft report on NTWG to ensure that the requirement for maritime security in the Vision 20:2020 final document is well represented.

On 01 September 2009 President Umaru Musa Yar'dua called on the Nigerian Navy to evolve strategies in ensuring effective inter-service and agency collaboration of naval forces and maritime authorities in the Gulf of Guinea. Yar'Adua, who declared open the 2009 edition of Chief of Naval Staff Annual Conference, said since security is paramount in any nation's development and economic growth, it was very crucial for the country to have a virile and rapidly responsive Navy in place. He said the Nigeria's maritime sector has a dominant impact on the economy and holds the key to the realisation of Vision 20:2020 goals.



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