The Nigerian Navy came into existence in 1956 as an offshoot of the Colonial Marine Department of the Royal Navy which was established to further the interest of the British Empire in the West African Sub-region. This Department was later reorganized and renamed the Nigerian Naval Defence Force (NNDF). Subsequently, the NNDF was by legislation re-designated, the Royal Nigerian Navy (RNN) as a mark of allegiance to the Queen of England.
However, on attainment of republican status in 1963, the title ‘Royal’ was dropped from the RNN giving birth to the Nigerian Navy (NN) which was promulgated by the Act of Parliament No 21 of 1964. With a few coastal patrol boats at its inception in 1956, the Nigerian Navy has had a phenomenal growth, acquiring several sophisticated and state-of-the-art platforms with missile carrying capabilities in the eighties. The Nigerian Navy has today emerged as a multi-mission maritime arm of the Nigerian Armed Forces with various wartime and peacetime roles.
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Roles Of The Nigerian Navy
The roles of the Nigerian Navy were derived from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, Nigeria’s Defence Policy, and the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. The roles assigned to the Nigerian Navy by these documents could be classified into 3. These are military, policing and diplomatic roles.
1. Military Role.
The military role includes:
- Force projection functions.
- Balance of power functions.
2. Policing Role.
The policing role of the Nigerian Navy deals with the maintenance of law and order within the internal waters, territorial waters, contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
3. Diplomatic Role. Diplomatic roles include:
- Negotiation from position of strength.
It is incumbent on the Nigerian Navy to maintain law and order within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) since a coastal state has exclusive access to the living and non-living resources within this Zone. The functions of the Nigerian Navy under this role are in the areas of coast guard duties and nation building. The Coastguard duties are mainly in the enforcement of Customs exploration and exploitation laws of Nigeria while the national building duties involve military aid to civil power authority.
Training In The Nigerian Navy
Today, the Nigerian Navy gives trainees at all levels sufficient instructions and guidance to enable them discharge their duties effectively and to accept higher responsibilities. The Nigerian Navy has recorded improvement of local training through the establishment of the Training Command. The training offered is now tailored towards the specific needs of the Service both in quality and scope.