On Wednesday, the Nigerian Navy unveiled 30 locally made gun boats in Lagos.
The locally made gun boats are part of the 39 gun boats and 45 operational vehicles to aid the fight against militancy in the country.
Minister of State for Defence, Mohammad Dan-Ali, who witnessed the unveiling ceremony, said the gun boats were fitted with appropriate weapons and anti-ballistic protection to enhance optimal efficiency.
According to him, the 30 8.2 metre boats, which were constructed for the navy by Epenal Boat Yard in Port Harcourt, would be deployed for rigorous patrols in the Niger Delta while additional 20 would be delivered subsequently.
He added, “I am hopeful that the boats being launched today would further boost the ongoing patrol efforts in the various rivers and creeks of the country to the immense benefit of the nation’s maritime security.”
Chief of Naval Staff, vice admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas said the Epenal boats were an improvement on 30 others unveiled in Port Harcourt in February.
“These boats, no doubt, have boosted navy maritime operations. However, as part of the efforts to continue to achieve unchallenged dominance of our maritime environment, the navy within a space of six months has launched another 39 specially built patrol boats into her fleet.
“These efforts, both then and now, represent navy’s modest contribution to enhance national security and prosperity. Of the 39 boats launched, nine were acquired from Sri Lanka and would be greatly helpful for patrol of territorial waters and the contiguous zone,” he said.
Ete-Ibas explained that the navy’s decision to build 60 boats locally was part of its resolve to look inwards in the production of the nation’s naval hardware.
On his part, the Chairman, Senate Committee on the Navy, Isa Aman-Isa, said the committee was doing everything possible to support the navy in tackling maritime insecurity to the fullest.