The Nigerian Navy is a branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It became active in 1958.
The origin of the Nigerian Navy could be traced to the colonial marine Department of the Royal Navy which was established in 1887 as a quasi-military organization.
At that time, it combined the duties of the present day Nigerian Ports Authority, the Inland Water Ways and the modern day Navy.
Late Captain Skutil, who was the first officer to head the Nigerian Navy Defence Force in 1956 believed in the Nigerian Navy and later spearheaded the establishment of a Nigerian Naval Force (Sessional paper No. 6 of 1956).
On 1 June 1956, the Nigerian Naval Defense Force commenced operations with 2 survey vessels, 2 training boats, 3 VIP boats, one tug and one general purpose. Then on August 1, the Nigerian Naval Ordinance was passed by the House of Representatives and was assented on September 5, 1956.
Thereafter, the Prefix “Royal” in Royal Nigerian Navy was dropped in 1963 when Nigerian became a republic. Thus adopting a new name – The Nigerian Navy.
The motto of the Nigerian Navy is “Onward Together”.
The Naval Headquarters (NHQ)
The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) is the boss of the Naval Headquarters (NHQ). Notably, the NHQ is the administrative and policy-making organ of the Nigerian Navy.
The Nigerian Navy, which forms part of a naval headquarters, comprises of Office of the Chief of the Naval Staff and 8 staff branches. The 8 branches are administered by a Branch Chief or flag rank.
The Eight Nigerian Navy Branches include: Naval Engineering, Naval Safety and Standard, Policy and Plans, Training and Operations, Logistics, Administration, Account and Budget and Office of the Navy Secretary.
These branches are headed by Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) of flag rank.
The Nigerian Navy has the following operational command:
The Western Naval Command
This command controls the sea and coastal areas from the Nigerian/Benin border Long 002o 49’ E to Long 006o E in Delta State. It also covers the Nigerian coastal areas to the boundary of the nation’s EEZ. Its headquarters is located in Apapa, Lagos State.
The Eastern Naval Command
This command is the second operations command of the Nigerian Navy. The headquarters is located at Calabar, Cross River State. Its area of responsibility covers from the sea area from Long 006o E in Delta State to the Nigeria/Cameroon border at Long 008o 30’ E, and from the Nigerian coastline to the limit of the nation’s EEZ.
The Central Naval Command
This is the third operations command of the Nigerian Navy. It covers from the Benin River entrance at Long 0050 00’E to the Santa Barbara River entrance at Long 0060 30’E, including Bayelsa, Delta and Edo coastal areas. It also takes care of the landward states in the nation. Its headquarters is in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State.
Leadership In the Nigerian Navy Is structured thus:
Chief of the Naval Staff
This is the highest ranking military officer of the Nigerian Navy. This position goes to the most senior commissioned officer, whose appointment rests on the shoulder of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s current Chief of Naval Staff is Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas (appointed on 13 July 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari).
The Chief of the Naval Staff reports to the Chief of Defence Staff, who in turn reports to the Minister of Defence.
The Nigerian Navy Bases
The Nigerian Navy pioneer base is located at Apapa, Lagos state. The base was developed in 1961 followed by the Calabar base – located in the Southern part of Nigeria.
In 1975, another base named NNS AKASO was opened in Borikiri, Port Harcourt. Thereafter, more bases came on board and they include the Nigerian Navy bases in Warri, Sapele and Port Harcourt.
During the civil war, the Nigerian Navy played vital operative roles especially after the abortive Aburi Talks of January 1967.
Secondly, the Nigerian Navy manned most Nigerian territorial waters at the time the Federal Military Government banned shipped in the Eastern part of Nigeria. This feat warded off the Atlantic seabed and impeded large-scale importation of much-needed arms and ammunition by the secessionists.
The Nigerian Naval Forces have made charts and coordinated national hydrographic surveys as well as enforcing safety regulations in the territorial waters and the EEZ of the nation.
After the war, the Navy acquired many warships for the protection of offshore installations. These include NNS ARADU, ERINOMI, ENYIMIRI, AMBE, OFIOM and 2 squadrons of missile-carrying Fast Attack Craft (FAC-M).
Ships- HMNS SAPELE, HMNS KADUNA, NNS OGOJA, HMNS PATHFINDER, HMNS NIGERIA, NNS DORINA, NNS RUWAN YARO, NNS ANDONI, NNS THUNDER, NNS OBULA, NNS NWAMBA, NNS AYAM, NNS LANA, NNS OHUE, NNS AMBE, NNS ERINOMI, NNS SIRI, NNS ZARIA, NNS EKPE, NNS YOLA, NNS HADEJIA, NNS OTOBO.
Aircraft- Augusta A109 helicopter, Aeronautics Aerostar, Westland Lynx