President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to believe in the capability of the armed forces to safeguard and bring long-lasting peace and stability to the country.
He made the call while declaring open the 12th Nigerian Navy Games, LAGOS 2022.
The President assured Nigerians that the armed forces would continue to sustain their operational tempo to contain the security challenges in the country.
He said the security agencies would continue to ensure that all appropriate measures were in place for the safety of Nigerians.
The President also re-emphasized the importance of synergy between the armed forces, other security agencies and the general population for peace and security.
President Buhari, who also commissioned the newly constructed Nigerian Navy Sports Complex, commended the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, for investing in sports development.
‘‘The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces expressed the hope that the Games would provide the needed platform and avenue for the discovery of new talents that will represent the Navy and Nigeria in international competitions”.
He, therefore, urged all participating athletes to inculcate fair play and exhibit a high level of decorum during the competition.
The President also thanked the Lagos State government for supporting the Games and cooperating with the military in the State, describing the goodwill as highly commendable.
In his goodwill message, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos described the Nigerian Navy as a strategic partner to the ‘‘coastal State of Lagos’’ on security of lives and property.
He, therefore, thanked the President for approving the establishment of a new Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Lekki axis, one of the fastest growing industrial, commercial and residential development areas in West Africa.
The Lagos Governor wished the over 1,800 Naval athletes participating in the Games success, charging them to display the full spirit of sportsmanship and fair play in the eight-day competition.
The Chief of Naval Staff pledged that the Navy would sustain the fight against crude oil theft and other maritime crimes, ensuring that the country maintains its delisting from nations of high piracy risks.
He expressed delight that Nigeria exited from the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy List early in the year and no incidence of piracy has been recorded in the last one year, adding that this attests to the Nigerian Navy’s willingness and resilience to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.
The Naval Chief also used the occasion to thank the President for his unquantifiable support to the Nigerian Navy, saying that the ultra-modern Complex commissioned by the President, the Naval Chief explained that it is equipped with the state-of-the-art indoors sporting equipment, a world class gymnasium, swimming pool and a standard football pitch as well as tracks for athletics events.
He recounted that the ultra-modern edifice was conceptualised and constructed by the immediate past Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas (rtd).
According to him, the retired Admiral’s plan was to invite the President to commission the Complex at the end of 2020, however, the commissioning could not be actualized due to restrictions imposed by the COVID – 19 pandemic.
The Naval Chief noted that contemporary warfare generally described as being volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, places a huge demand on personnel combat readiness and thus necessitates the need to sustain high levels of physical fitness and mental alertness.
He added that physical fitness and mental alertness of personnel has become key considerations for armed forces to meet increasing demands of current operations environment of the Nigerian Navy, which has recorded significant appearances at local and international competitions.