Putting roofs over officers’ heads

All over the world, the importance of accommodation cannot be overemphasized because in any case, shelter is almost the first to be considered if one finds himself in any city. That is why people begin to panic anytime they are being sent to where they have not been before without where to stay, as many end up spending almost all their resources on renting of hotels and looking for other means of accommodation.

Still, the high cost of rent of in a state like Bayelsa is a story for another day. That was why it was a thing of joy when the Nigerian Navy Central Naval Command built some accommodation spaces for its senior and junior ratings. Despite using those beautiful buildings to beautify the aesthetic site of that environment (Camp Porbeni), the joy of the personnel had no bounds as they were all over the place admiring the buildings and the state-of-the-art facilities installed in the rooms to make life conducive as they do their work.

The Nigerian Navy and the Central Naval Command in particular have achieved so many things right from the inception in 2012. More so, the command has done a lot in curbing all forms of marine criminality in the Niger Delta region, which has helped in increasing oil production.

That was why during this 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, during the commissioning of senior and junior ratings accommodation (self-contained for senior ratings, officer’s residential blocks, floating concrete jetty, CBM institutional house and ratings arrival hall) at the Central Naval Command in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, disclosed that the Nigerian Navy would continue to give priority to the provision of residential accommodations to bridge the housing gap for its personnel across all the commands in the country.

Represented by the Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral Saidu Garba, the Chief of Naval Staff said: “Providing residential accommodations for Nigerian navy personnel wherever they may be deployed has become a focal priority of the Nigerian Navy in recent times.

“This had necessitated the need to aggressively embark on sustained infrastructural drive in order to comfortably accommodate personnel and their families. “Accordingly, it gives me great pleasure to commission the 6×2 junior officers block, the purposefully built Chief Boatswain’s mate institutional accommodation, 26×1 senior rates accommodation and junior rates arrival hall. “These accommodations, being dignified and respectable infrastructure, have contributed to the vision of achieving better housing for Nigerian Navy personnel.

“These residential buildings would go a long way in ameliorating shortage of accommodation affecting naval personnel serving in Yenagoa area.” He also said that the ongoing construction of internal roads and drainages in Camp Porbeni would be completed very soon to significantly improve the aesthetics of the Central Naval Command.

He commended the gallantry of officers engaged in various operations, particularly the ongoing onslaughts against elements of terrorism, banditry, piracy and insurgency in the country. And to the junior officers, Chief Boatswain’s mate and ratings, who are the beneficiaries of the projects, he said: “You are enjoined to be prudent in the use these accommodation to ensure their continuous serviceability over a long time.” Fielding questions from newsmen, the FOC also said that, “the position of these accusations (insecurity) will enable us tackle any challenge that will come our way.

“The focus of the Nigerian Navy is to ensure that we move our forces as near as possible to the forward edges where the action is taking place and that is why we commissioned that project at Koluama. “The Nigerian Navy is poised to deal decisively with any person who in any way undermines the unity of this country.

Specifically, destruction of oil and gas infrastructure is economic sabotage and I will advise that whoever that is thinking of that should please see the way of dialogue with the government and discuss what their grievances are and I’m sure the government will find a way to solve such problems. “I’m very much aware that components of the government is very much in touch with the relevant bodies in the Niger Delta and other places to ensure that problem does not rear its ugly head. “I want to assure you that we are ready to tackle any problem that may arise.”

Also the Chief of Naval Staff represented by the FOC had earlier commissioned the Pontoon and Shore Protection Wall at Naval Outpost, Koluama II. He used the occasion also to call for continued effort to address calls for urgent attention to modernisation of equipment and other military hardware required to effectively combat the current security challenges of the nation. Ibas said: “The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has ensured the timely provision of adequate resources and necessary logistics support for the armed forces to operate with the best and modern warfare equipment, while at the same time addressing the welfare issues affecting personnel during operational deployments.

“The Nigerian Navy has concentrated efforts towards expanding her operations in the Niger Delta to address the myriads of security challenges bedeviling the region such as crude oil theft, arms smuggling and piracy, among others.

“This necessitated the need for deployment of robust naval platforms to effectively combat these threats as well as the infrastructure to support maritime operation in the area. “Realizing the relevance of adequate facilities for enhanced operations, the Nigerian Navy recognised the need to urgently address issues of inadequate infrastructure.” “Therefore, the importance of commissioning these Pontoon and Shore Protection Wall for Naval Outpost Koluama II cannot be over emphasized.

“It is only a step in our drive to become an efficient force capable of deploying against multiple threats while sustaining the Nigerian Navy’s combat ready posture. “The construction of the Pontoon and Shore Protection wall is also a major transformation of the Naval Outpost which increases her capacity to withstand reasonable amount of natural environmental factors and also launch and recover her platforms.

“This is most evident, especially considering that the Outpost started without these facilities to weather initial challenges associated with running the Base at its infancy. “In the nearest future, it is envisaged that the Base can accommodate bigger boats and would realise its potential as both a logistic and operations hub for the Command. “With this project commissioned today, it is evident that the Nigerian Navy is steaming on the right course.

If this tempo is sustained, I am confident that in the nearest future, the Central Naval Command would be sufficiently empowered to completely secure her area of responsibility. “To those of you presently serving here, this calls for more dedication and commitment. You must be more resolute and dogged in the discharge of your assigned tasks. Be proud to serve the country and do so with utmost commitment by shunning all acts of criminality.”

Earlier Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, represented by the Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Esau Andrew, described the projects as unique and restated the readiness of his administration to partner with the Navy and other security agencies to protect lives and properties and to ensure that there is safety in the waterways. He said: “On behalf of the governor and the deputy, we are so happy with the Nigerian navy is doing.”

The state Commissioner of Police, Mike Okoli, also lauded the Nigerian Navy for embarking on the housing initiative for naval personnel, adding that the police command would always collaborate with the navy to secure the state’s waterways.




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