Navy Boosts Personnel Welfare With Repairs of Barracks 40 Years After

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

In a bid to boost the welfare of its personnel, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has begun series of renovations at the 28 blocks of flat at Gowon Estate, allocated to them by the Federal Government.

Forty years after the Gowon Estate, Ipaja, was built by the federal government to cater for participants of the FESTAC 77, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has commenced renovation of the 28 blocks allocated to it by in the estate.

Although built in 1975, the federal government then had considered the place too far from the venue of events and subsequently allocated the apartments to the Armed Forces, police and paramilitary agencies after the area became hideout for criminal elements.

The Navy, which got 28 of the blocks, used them as barracks for its officers and ratings since the Navy Town, Ojo, could not accommodate all the personnel in the state.

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Admiral Fergusson Bobai, while inspecting the state of the renovation approved last year by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, admitted that it was the first time meaningful renovation has been carried out on the structures since 1975.

Bobai, who noted that renovation works were not limited to the force’s Gowon Estate Barracks, but extends to some buildings at Navy Town and Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Wey, said similar activities were going on across naval barracks to boost the morale of personnel.

He said: “Considering the strategic guidance and vision of the CNS, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas, which encapsulates highly motivated personnel, this administration decided to embark on complete renovations of the facilities.

“Because of the high number of personnel at this barrack, a sick bay was established to cater for them and their families, which has also undergone tremendous renovations.

“I was just told that they usually take delivery of at least 10 babies every month at the sick bay. The CNS understands that for personnel to be focused on their given assignments, the home front has to be settled.

“So, when they are sent on operation at different parts of the state and they are rest assured that their families are in good, safe environment, it takes worry away from them.

“I can say that the work which commenced last year is already about 98 per cent completed. What us left now basically is to fix the water system. Similar renovations are ongoing at other barracks and at the Navy Town, we are working on building a mini-stadium for the recreation of personnel and their families.”