Nigeria Considers Involving Navy in Fishing and Aquatic Animals Operations to Boost the Blue Economic Revenue

By Abdullahi O. Haruna (Haruspice)



In a bid to unlock its revenue potential, the Federal Government of Nigeria is exploring the possibility of engaging the Navy in fish harvesting activities along the country’s coastal waters. Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar Kana, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, revealed this during a visit by Chief of Defence Staff, Maj.-Gen Christopher Musa, and the newly appointed service chiefs and Chief of Defence Intelligence at Defence House.

Highlighting the untapped resources in Nigeria’s high seas, Dr. Kana emphasized that the Navy’s involvement in fishing ventures could generate billions of dollars in revenue and also create employment. He expressed concern over international incursions into Nigerian waters and stressed the need to harness this potential for economic growth. Dr. Kana further stated, “Nigeria is covered by waters, and there is no reason why the military can not support the country through the waters. The Ministry of Defence is committed to working closely with the Armed Forces hierarchy to address insecurity and support the realization of Nigeria’s Blue Economy potential under the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu”

According to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nigeria loses $60 million annually to illegal fishing, while the West African region suffers a staggering loss of $1.3 billion worth of fish due to illegal trade. Foreign fishing fleets, driven by rising global demand for fish, pose a significant threat to the livelihoods and nutrition of millions of people in Africa. Although European trawlers remain the primary foreign presence, fleets from China, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, and Taiwan have also expanded in recent years, depleting fish stocks and leaving local fishermen struggling to make a living.

To counter this challenge, the Permanent Secretary is urging the Armed Forces to capitalize on this opportunity and redirect the revenue potential back to Nigeria. He aims to turn the tide against illegal fishing activities and protect the interests of Nigerian fishermen.

During the meeting, Dr. Kana also reiterated the ongoing implementation of reforms of the M9D and the Armed Forces, which were initiated during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. He emphasized the commitment of the Ministry of Defence to collaborate with the military hierarchy in driving these reforms forward.

The reform initiatives encompass various aspects, including the establishment of the Octagon, a platform that fosters civilian-military collaboration to enhance national security. Dr. Kana likened it to the Pentagon in the United States, highlighting the goal of joint efforts in providing security for Nigeria.

Additionally, the Ministry of Defence is dedicated to the development of Nigeria’s military industrial complex through Defence Industries Corporation (DICON). This initiative aims to promote local development, employment, and self-sufficiency in arms, ammunition, and other military hardware production, supporting both the economy and national security.

Dr. Kana praised the contributions of professionals within the military, particularly in healthcare, during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. He expressed high expectations for the armed forces and acknowledged the positive start of the new service chiefs, aligning with the clear mandates set by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He said the MOD will continue to contribute to the health security of the country.

In response, Major General Christopher, the Chief of Defence Staff, affirmed the commitment of the armed forces to collaborate with the Ministry of Defence in addressing security threats and achieving the President’s mandates The visit served to strengthen the working relationship between the military and the ministry as they worked together towards common goals.

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