Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday pledged that the Armed Forces would sustain the recent ongoing onslaught against terrorists and criminals, with the aim of restoring peace across the nation.
He made this pledge at Navy Town, Ojo, Lagos, where he inaugurated the newly built Sports Complex and also flagged-off the 12th Nigerian Navy (NN) Games.
While urging Nigerians to have faith in the capability of the security agencies to ensure lasting peace and stability, the president commended the services for inter-agency synergy, which he said was vital for peace and security.
According to him, the security agencies would continue to ensure that all appropriate measures were in place for the safety of Nigerians.
He said: “Let me assure Nigerians that the armed forces will continue to sustain their operational tempo to contain the security challenges in the country.
“Plans are in to ensure that the security agencies put appropriate measures in place to secure the country.
“I want Nigerians to believe in the capability of the Armed Forces to provide the needed strategy in place to safeguard our collective interest.
“May I also use the opportunity to re-emphasise the significance of synergy between the Armed Forces and other security agencies and the general population in bringing about long lasting peace and stability in the country.”
He commended the Navy for promoting sports development in the country, charging the service to ensure the complex was put to good use.
“This occasion also showcases the investment undertaken by the Nigerian Navy in sport development.
“The construction of this sport complex has provided outstanding room for the Nigerian Navy to host major games as well as appropriate venue for naval personnel who are in Lagos to use for training and other recreational purposes.
“I am therefore confident that beside the conduct of the games, the Nigerian Navy and its personnel will continue to make good use of the facilities in this complex.
“I am also sure that the games will provide an avenue for the discovery of new talents who will go on to represent the Nigerian Navy and Nigeria in international competitions.
“Therefore, all participating athletes should inculcate fair play and exhibit high level of decorum during the games. I know that all commanders in the Nigeria Navy are participating in the games.
“This means that the Nigerian Navy can take stock of the level of preparedness of its personnel while encouraging the development of team spirit among them.”
Speaking further, he said: “The games should therefore provide a glimpse of what Nigerians expect from the NN- dedication, commitment, unity, oneness and comradeship.
“Let me assure you that the federal government will continue to encourage sporting activities in view of its importance towards national coerciveness and unity.”
In his address, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, pledged that the service would do all within its power to ensure the country remained de-listed from the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy hotbed list.
In his welcome address, he said the navy would also sustain its fight against oil theft and other maritime criminality, adding that IMB’s delisting was a testament of the navy’s willingness, resilience to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.
The CNS noted that contemporary warfare places a huge demand on personnel combat readiness, hence the need to sustain high levels of physical fitness and mental alertness.
According to him, physical fitness and mental alertness of personnel have become key considerations for Armed Forces to meet increasing demands of current operations environment.
Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his goodwill message said the state would continue to support the navy which he described as a, “strategic partner.”
Over 1,800 Naval athletes are taking part in the games at the newly built sports centre tha is equipped with a standard pitch, indoor sporting equipment, a gymnasium, swimming pool, basketball court and volleyball pitch, among others.
At the event were Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ghana, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas (rtd), who conceptualised the sports centre; Minister for Sport and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, his Defence counterpart Major General Bashir Magachi (rtd.); and Inspector General of Police (IG) Alkali Usman.
Others included the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya; Director General (DG) Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh; Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, among others.