No fewer than 1,103 new sailors have been inducted into the Nigerian Navy to complement the joint military operations in the North-East, Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea.
Minister of Defence Mansur Dan-Ali announced this, last Saturday at the passing out parade of Batch 27 trainees at the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School (NNBTS) in Onne, Rivers State.
Dan-Ali, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Mrs Nuratu Batagarawa, said some of the new sailors would be deployed in counter insurgency and oil theft operations.
“The recruitment became necessary, given the fact that a considerable percentage of the revenue driving the nation’s budget is generated from resources offered by the maritime domain.
“In the last three years, there has been unprecedented effort made in welfare projects and fleet recapitalization drive to enhance the combat readiness and operational efficiency of the navy.”
The minister said the Nigerian navy had recently taken delivery of six patrol boats and 10 Rigid Hull Inflatable boats and many others as part of commitment to equip and arm the navy.
He said that the build-up in fleet would achieve the desired objectives with the right amount and calibre of requisite personnel.
“The opening gambit is to recruit able bodied young Nigerians from the society and refine them into a desired finished product necessary to man the required platforms (fleets).
“This is exactly what has just been concluded with the 1,103 graduands, comprising 940 young men and 163 women inducted today,” he said.
Dan-Ali said the new ratings were expertly trained in various warfare and maritime courses for a period of six months at the naval training facility.
He said the induction was part of crucial part of the capacity building programme of the navy to develop, maintain, sustain and operate forces appropriate to its threat evaluation.
The minister urged them to be disciplined, obedient, apolitical and have unflinching loyalty to the military and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“The new ratings are expected to maintain the tenets of civil-military cooperation and standard, discipline, hard work and commitment must be their watchword.
“Also, they are expected to show courtesy when interacting with civilians as well as show respect for human dignity even as they bear arms,” Dan-Ali said.
The Commandant of the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School, Commodore Sunny Ode, said the trainees underwent trainings in seamanship, navigation, weapons handling, naval discipline, parade and combat drills, among others.
He said the trainees also took naval courses in Mathematics, English and French languages to sharpen assimilation and broaden their knowledge.