Shoreline Protection as a Boost for Naval Seapower

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The efficient and effective projection of seapower by maritime forces is dependent on the physical configuration of the harbours and jetties which constitute a critical interface connecting the sea with land. Thus, to assuage the menace of erosion and other ecological challenges facing shorelines bordering naval facilities, the federal government recently intervened and ensured the construction of a jetty and shoreline protection facilities at the Nigerian Navy Underwater Warfare School, Chiemelie Ezeobi reports

One of the dangers faced by any body of water is the environmental degradation of its coastal shorelines. Without doubt, the eroding shorelines in the coastal areas have raised concern for the citizenry especially in the light of the ocean surges that are known to wipe out islands and beaches.

Their fears are not unfounded. With each flood that often leads to a surge, it poses an inherent danger both for humans and aquatic life. Most times the blame for these surges have often been placed squarely on climate change, while some blame human factors.

To this end, environmental experts have continuously warned that except prompt actions are taken, it would trigger a huge devastating loss to such affected shorelines. They noted that continuous degradation of the coastal areas cause erosion instead of even distribution of sand along the shorelines.

Shoreline Mitigation for the Navy
Recently, the Ecological Fund Office (EFO) through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha recently embarked on a mitigation project of the shorelines at the Nigerian Navy Underwater Warfare School in Ojo, Lagos. The project was executed by Messrs
Firm & Resolute Investment Limited as well as the Project Consultant, Messrs Integrated Advance Quest Engineering Limited.

According to the navy, the shoreline protection and the restoration of the jetty would no doubt enhance NN maritime security operations. They noted that it was the sole reason why the FG decided to assuage the fear of menace of erosion and other ecological challenges in jetties belonging to the Nigerian Navy Underwater Warfare School by constructing a jetty and shoreline protection facilities.

Bridging Military Infrastructural Deficit
In his keynote address at the commissioning and handing over ceremony of the project on the construction of Jetty and Shoreline Protection
Facilities at Underwater Warfare School, Ojo, Lagos State, the Minister of state for Health, Senator Adeleke Mamora, said it was targeted at so many reasons including bridging infrastructural deficit in the military.

He also added that the federal government’s intervention project was executed by the Ecological Fund Office (CFO) through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for the benefit of the Nigerian Navy.

He said the FG swiftly approved in the second quarter of 2018 the request because of its
strategic importance especially in the capacity building drive of the Nigerian Navy, the provision of a modern jetty and protection of the shoreline as well as the upgrade of the existing system will no doubt meet the benchmark of a world class training arena for the Nigerian Navy which of course is in line with international best practices.

He said: “It is also gratifying to note that the approval of this project has a dual mandate of enhancing the professional competencies
of the officers and men of the services and by extension, stimulating the aggressive drive of securing the country against any criminal act and security challenges confronting the nation, like
maritime crime, piracy, banditry, oil bunkering, kidnapping, insurgency etc.

“Aside the fact that the project will bridge the gap
of infrastructural deficit in our military formation, it is also very instructive that the modern military institution requires such an intervention in order to respond to the emerging trend and
sophistication in the modern warfare in addressing the security challenges retarding our growth and nation building.

” By and large, the intervention of the federal government on the shoreline protection works and construction of jetty brought about huge relief and assuage the fear of menace of erosion and other ecological challenges in the area. I feel honored with this invitation as the Special Guest of Honour not only because the project is dear to the school, but also because it is in keeping faith with the present administration’s promise that no part of the
country will suffer any neglect owing to its geographical location or political consideration.

“The completion of this project has
further demonstrated Mr. President’s commitment to addressing problems confronting various communities across the country. I therefore implore the state government and the Underwater Warfare School to cherish this laudable project and to protect it from any abuse. It is the
responsibility of the school to own and maintain the project to ensure its sustainability. “

Effective Projection of Seapower

Noting that the efficient and effective projection of seapower by maritime forces is dependent on the physical configuration of the harbours and jetties which constitute a critical interface connecting the sea with land, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo first commended the president his commitment towards addressing ecological challenges in the country and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation for seeing to the awards of contract as well as the Ecological Fund Office and contractor for seeing to the completion of the project.

Stressing that the event marks another milestone in the intervention effort of the Ecological Fund Office at addressing ecological challenges across the country, he said: “I am therefore grateful that the Ecological Fund Office considered the NN one of the beneficiaries of its mitigation efforts in line with Mr President’s pledge that no part of the country would be neglected under the present administration.

“Notably, the efficient and effective projection of seapower by maritime forces is dependent on the physical configuration of the harbours and jetties which constitute a critical interface connecting the sea with land. The shoreline protection and the restoration of the jetty would no doubt enhance NN maritime security operations. It is instructive to state that the timely completion of this project has helped to stave off the fears associated with shoreline erosion including the attendant risk of flooding to the entire landscape. This is even more worrisome considering that Navy Town is a strategic naval establishment housing the largest NN barracks as well as other major NN establishments including providing a sheltered harbour for berthing of critical naval assets and some of our vessels.

“Again, this project has enhanced the aesthetic outlook of the shoreline thus facilitating other recreational use of the adjourning water body. I wish to state that the NN will take ownership of the project and I assure the SGOH that we would ensure the sustainability and maintenance of this project.
Even as we commission this project today, some of our vessels have already been earmarked to berth at this facility. The only hindrance is the non-completion of dredging activities from the approaches of Badagry Creek.

“Additional dredging operations would therefore be required to facilitate a safe and unhindered use of the jetty. Additionally, I would urge further intervention in the area of the shoreline protection from the current 80 meters to at least another 400 meters to cover up to the JMSTC and the SBS Camp, which is currently nearing completion. This way, I believe that the FGN would have had returns on the resources committed to the project and greatly reinvigorate NN’s response and strike capability against the criminal elements at sea.

“I respectfully seize this opportunity to humbly solicit for more of Ecological Fund Office’s intervention in other identified sites at NN bases and establishments namely; Escravos, Ibaka, Igbokoda, and Calabar Jetty. I assure that the navy will by such intervention be even more emboldened in the performance of her statutory role of maritime defence and security of the nation’s maritime domain.”

Succor for Affected Communities
Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office, Dr. Habiba Lawal,
said the construction brought succor to the navy and its communities, adding that the federal government received quite a number of requests regarding the need and desirability of embarking on the project as a result of imminent danger posed by the devastating recurring erosion and flooding that have being threatening the lives and property of these communities.

He said: “The risk of shoreline erosion and its negative consequences necessitated the prompt intervention of the Federal Government in effecting a holistic approach to the control and flooding that would stand the test of time and address the issue of shoreline erosion menace caused by high
ocean current/tidal waves over the years.

“It is our conviction that this project intervention will
provide succor to the communities whose lives and properties were in danger. The EFO entrenched
a new tradition of organising in collaboration with the host community a befitting ceremony for the commissioning and handing over of its project; this singular act will serve a dual purpose of taking
ownership of the project and ensuring its sustainability. I have no doubt that the school authorities and indeed the inhabitants will
ensure that the jetty and shorelie protection works are guarded jealously.

“At this juncture, I wish to extend our gratitude to the school for their hospitality which culminated into a hitch free execution and successful completion of the project. Also, worthy of mention are the consultant and contractor whose seamless collaboration contributed in making this day possible.”