Fashola challenges Navy on sea transportation

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Mar 6th, 2014
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Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has urged the Navy (NN) to partner the state in its drive to develop an efficient water transportation.

Fashola spoke at Alausa, Ikeja when the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, visited him.

Noting that the challenges befalling the country were signs of a rebuilding process, the governor implored the military to map out home-based research solutions to the nation’s health, security and technology challenges.

He said the country is in dire need of peace, security and requisiting of knowledge, adding that the current challenges present huge opportunity for the military to provide home-based expertise in many areas.

“Drugs, life saving equipment that are domesticated the world over were bôrne out of military research,” the governor said.

Pledging the government’s continuous support for security agencies, Fashola advised the Navy to engage in money making ventures like boat maintenance, as well as establish schools that train sea farers.

He decried the lack of connetion between Lagos Government and the Navy in the state’s quest to develop water transportation.

“I am not a naval officer, but in the process of developing water transportation in Lagos, I have learnt that it is easîer to build a road than construct waterways.

“So, there is need for the Navy to improve its partnerships in dredging, boat building and maintenance and trainings for sea-farers.

“I had to go to Dubai to learn how to pilot my boat when we have a Navy here. I am due for a refresher çourse but have not gone because of time.

“The Navy can set up schools that teach navigation laws and how to do the propet things at sea to the people.

“Also, Navy should look into the possibility of building ferries. We had to go abroad in building ferries for our sea transport.

“So, there is clearly local capacity for the Navy to do things that will legitimately earn it money. We have many merchant boats that need repairs, also farers require charting maps, all these avenues can be tapped into by the Navy because people are looking for the fastest way to commute, but have left the water.

“There is need to open up and sail as far as Ondo to decongest our roads. Also, tankers should have no business plying our roads because if we have adequate sea transport, goods can be transported from Lagos to as far as Lokoja.

“So, besides security, I think the Navy needs to show its expertise on our waterways for easy transportation.”

Jibrin said he was at the Governor’s Office to perform an aged long tradition of the Navy-courtesy visit to the Governor of Lagos.

He lauded the governor for his support towards the Navy, including the donation of two boats to help check criminality at sea and for easy transportation of election materials to riverine areas during elections as well as the construction of an administrative building for the force at Badagry.

The CNS said there is need for continuous training in civil-military relations in order for erring Ratings and officers to be abreast with democratic principles.

Appealing to Fashola to condone such personnel, Jibrin, however, maintained that every military personnel has been taught to abide by the laws of the nation and the state they find themselves.

Pledging Navy’s commitment to security, the CNS urged Fashola to make land provision for the Navy at the Eko Atlantic City and Lekki Free Trade Zone for adequate security to drive the processes.

Responding to the governor’s advice, Jibrin disclosed that the Navy has capacity to build small boats up to the ferry class, noting that the Naval Dockyard has been registered as a company.

“We are investing in the Dockyard now and are working on bringing foreign partners to domesticate ship production.

“We are also producing our maps for riverine operations, though we have not thought of doing so for business purposes. So, we will consider producing them in large quantity and for sale,” the CNS said.

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