Navy now more prepared to protect Nigerian waters, acquires 173 boats- Ibas

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…As Dangote, partners, to employ 350 LSETF Employability Support Project trainees***

The  Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas on Tuesday declared that the navy is now more prepared to defend and protect the nation’s territorial waters, particularly with the recent acquisition of 173 assorted boats, which included Epenal boats, Rigid Hull Inflatable boats and Hydrographic Survey boats in 2017.

The naval chief indicated this at a news conference in Abuja being part of activities to mark Navy’s 62nd anniversary celebration taking place between May 23 and June 1, with the theme: “Enhancing an Integrated Maritime Strategy for Security in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Represented by Rear Adm. Begroy Ibe-Enwo, the Chief of Naval Transformation, Ibas said the boats had enhanced navy’s capacity to police and carry out surveillance of Nigeria’s maritime environment.

He said boosting the navy fleet had been a top priority consideration of his leadership.

He added that “it is my great pleasure to inform you that NN concomitantly acquired the 173 assorted boats, including Epenal boats, Rigid Hull Inflatable boats, and Hydrographic Survey boats in the last one year.

“The navy also acquired ships from some foreign countries and complemented local construction of ships and boats.

“In addition, defective NN ships are being refitted at the Naval Dockyard Limited Victoria Island, Lagos and the Naval Shipyard Limited Port Harcourt to ensure availability.

“The NN recently acquired six ocean fast patrol boats from France which will be inaugurated soon.”

Ibas said the navy had also carried out several notable exercises and operations in 2017.

He added that such operations were specifically aimed at checking crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy/sea robbery and illegal fishing, among others.

“Operation Tsare Teku and River Sweep are ongoing operations to address illegalities in the Blue and Brown waters respectively.”

He noted that the maritime exercise had assisted the NN in reducing the menace of piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea since its inception in 2011.

He disclosed that at least 42 vessels had been arrested so far for involving in various illegalities in Nigeria’s maritime domain and were undergoing various stages of investigations for subsequent prosecution.

“Furthermore, NN personnel were involved in various internal security operations in some states of the federation, including Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Plateau states.

He noted that the navy had been unrelenting in its operations to protect the nation’s maritime environment against all forms of threats, stressing that “in this regard, NN routinely carries out surveillance and patrol of the maritime area with available surveillance systems, ships and helicopters.”

He explained that the navy also upgraded its maritime surveillance equipment, including the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) and the Falcon Eye systems to improve maritime domain awareness.

On activities for the 2018 Navy Week celebration, Ibas said the week would commence inauguration of some projects in the commands such as the Nigerian Navy Military School, Ikot Ntuen in Akwa Ibom, to be
inaugurated on May 23.

He noted that special juma’at prayers for the week activities would be held in Abuja area and the commands would hold theirs on May 25.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Mr Akintunde Oyebode has revealed that the Dangote Group, in collaboration with its partner vendors is set to employ 350 LSETF Employability Support Project Trainees.

Oyebode disclosed to newsmen on Tuesday in Lagos that the employment opportunity followed the completion of an eight-week intensive training exercise, organised by LSETF

He said that the 350 graduates of the LSETF Employability Support Project participated in an interview with Dangote Group and the organization’s partner vendors.

“The interview session involved graduates trained under the Manufacturing and Construction sectors of the Employability Support Project, vocational scheme held during a job fair held at Bibbycrest Event Centre, Ajah, Lagos, on May 14.

“The Employability Support Project, an initiative of the LSETF, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is designed to provide unemployed and underemployed youths in Lagos State with vocational skills training by well-certified and credible training partners.

“The project is managed by Arc Skills, a globally recognized skills training consultancy firm,” Oyebode added.

Oyebode, who commended the Dangote Group said that the Employability Support Project, would provide a viable platform to bridge the gap of shortage of skilled and employable labour required to fill the needs of the job market.

Oyebode said, “Manpower skills gap remained a significant issue for businesses operating in the state and we are pleased to see that world-class brands are satisfied with the quality of our trainees and the scheme in general.

“I enjoin other corporate organizations to follow Dangote’s lead in recruiting well trained and certified manpower that the Employability Support Project has produced and support the Lagos State Government in its effort to bridge the unemployment gap in the state.”

Also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Arc Skills Nigeria, Mr Amit Washington, represented by the General Manager, Mr Bolodeoku Ebunoluwa, said the move by Dangote and its partner vendors to employ trainees of the Employability Support Project, was a testament to the quality of the scheme.

“Today is another milestone for us, one of the many that has been achieved under this project, as we march towards creating sustainable employment for our youths.

“The vision for setting up this project, the first of its kind in Nigeria, is to increase the pool of employable graduates.

“As such, it is fulfilling that a multinational organization of Dangote’s calibre has shown interest in recruiting a large number of our trainees,” he said.