Nigeria to fund Navy to contain piracy, other sea crimes – Reps

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…As FEC approves N551m for construction of Freight Office at Jibia***

 

There is a strong indication that the Nigeria Navy would be adequately funded in 2019, to contain Piracy, crimes on the seas, as well as creditably perform its other constitutional roles and responsibilities.

The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on the Nigerian Navy, Mr. Abdussamad Dasuki indicated this on Wednesday, while speaking to newsmen at Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) WEY, in Navy Town, Ojo, during a one day oversight visit.

He promised to meet with other committee members, with a view to appropriating more funds for the navy.

“We are here as part of our constitutional responsibilities for oversight functions.

“We started this last week at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja, where we looked at the books with regards to the 2018 appropriation.

“We have seen most of the projects. Today, we are here at the Western Naval Command, Lagos, to see on ground what we saw on paper.

“We have seen a couple of projects – construction at the new stadium at the Navy Town and accommodation for officers. We were also on board the new ships acquired by the Nigerian Navy,” he said.

Dasuki said the committee was impressed with what was on ground, adding that the Navy was working based on the fund releases made available to it.

“I think we have to tell our colleagues in the house to make sure that the Armed Forces in particular, get more financial support.

“This will ensure that they carry out their responsibilities and complete most of the ongoing projects,” he said.

Dasuki, however, commended the navy for its high level of professionalism saying that the house had received the least petition from the navy.

“In the House of Representatives, the Nigerian Navy has the least petitions among the military and paramilitary agencies and I think this is due to professionalism in the service.

“I want to use this opportunity to commend the ratings and officers for their civil-military relationship.

“We appreciate that and we want the Chief of the Naval Staff and his men to sustain the high tempo of the relationship.

“I also commend you for the protection of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and other critical infrastructures like the pipelines, “he said.

Earlier, the Flag Officer Command (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak led the Committee Chairman to inspect the quarter guard.

On his part, Ngalabak said there was no doubt that the navy deserved adequate funding to carry out its functions and responsibilities.

“It is obvious we need more funding, considering the standpoint of the committee chairman.

“I am happy he has promised to talk to the relevant people to get more funding for us,” he said.

On ensuring the waterways remained safe for economic activities, the FOC assured Lagos residence not to panic, that the waterways would remain safe.

Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday approved N551.8 million for the construction of a national freight office in Jibia, Katsina State.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Ameachi, disclosed this when he, along with the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Council’s meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.

According to him, the national freight office is usually located at border posts and Jibia is between Katsina State and Niger Republic.

On Lagos – Ibadan rail project, the minister expressed the hope that it would be completed by June/July 2019

“We believe that by next year, we will begin to encourage those who transport by trucks between Lagos and Ibadan to use the rail.

“We believe that before the end of June, we will start running from January but, we may not be able to carry enough cargo, we will be able to do that by June/July.

“At that point, most of the trucks carrying cargo, going to Ibadan, must be on the rail so that we can save the Lagos/Ibadan road.

On his part, Fashola disclosed that the Council approved N1.6 billion as cost variation for the completion of Oweto bridge along the Oshegudu – Oweto road, linking Benue and Nasarawa states.

He expressed the hope that the project, when completed, would greatly ease the stress usually experienced by motorists plying the road.

Fashola disclosed that as part of deliberate efforts to ensure accident-free Yuletide, his ministry had identified 53 major (road) corridors with bad portions across the country.

He said contractors handling the 53 road projects had been directed to maintain working gauges for the next six weeks to enable motorists to appropriately use the roads.

The minister also announced that all Zonal Directors of the ministry on leave had been recalled while no senior staff would be allowed to go on annual leave in December and January 2019.

He said the directive was meant to ensure smooth movements of motorists throughout the periods of Christmas and the New Year.

He further revealed that the ministry was also addressing the challenges in the power sector to meet the festive demands of all citizens.

The minister said: “We also predicted power demand, nationwide, where the movement will go.

“So, the power sector is also preparing to ensure that damaged power poles or downed power lines and all of those little things that constrained the distribution end can be dealt with in order to improve the experience because we know the weather is changing, temperatures are rising, people need more cooling, more fans, more cold water.

“So, this is a well-planned Ember month period for us.  We planned for the worst, we are hoping for the best and we hope that we can deliver a better experience for commuters this year again when compared to last year.”