MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Nigeria’s Chief of the Naval Staff, (CNS) Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo has called on the House of Representatives Committee on the Nigerian Navy (NN) to continue to support the quest to reposition the Service for a more effective discharge of its constitutional responsibilities.
Vice Admiral Gambo made this plea while defending the 2022 budget of the Service before the Committee. According to the CNS, the NN in the last two decades has been mainly pre-occupied with her policing roles, especially countering the threat of crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism and piracy including internal security breaches and asymmetric threats in the form of insurgency and terrorism, amongst others.
He observed that to continue to tackle these threats in the nation’s interest, the NN needs to budget for the acquisition of appropriate platforms, equipment and infrastructure without ignoring personnel welfare.
While commending the Federal Government for boosting the renewal of NN’s fleet with some major platforms, Gambo stated that more platforms were required to enhance presence at sea in defence of Nigeria’s maritime interest and sustain ongoing efforts against crude oil theft and other maritime related crimes.
Giving a breakdown of the implementation of the 2021 budget, the CNS stated that the sum of N25,315,694,967.00 was appropriated which has so far been fully released, while out of the overhead expenditure lof N11,240,714,956.00, the sum of N8,430,536,216.97 (75 percent) has so far been released.
He further informed that for the year 2022, the NN’s capital budget proposal has been reviewed to N25,815,694,968.00 and overhead cost pegged at N14,240,714,955.00 in line with the ceiling given by
the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning, while personnel cost proposal amounts to N108,167,092,586.00 for the payments of salaries and particularly the allowances contained in the Manual of Financial Administration for the Armed Forces of Nigeria (MAFA) 2017.
The Naval boss also identified the immediate challenges to the NN operational efficiency to include inadequate platforms, inadequate jetties, inadequate arms and ammunition and obsolete logistics support facilities.
Others, he added, “are huge material/personnel cost for maintaining seized/arrested vessels and barges and shortage of barracks accommodation.”