The Federal Government’s decision establish a Naval Base in Kano is another glaring misstep of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration, considering the desert terrain of the area.
Although, authorities of the Nigerian Navy had explained that the proposed Kano Naval Base is only a stone frigate, which does not need proximity to a water body, noting that such dry bases already exist.
But we view the move as a wrong one and believe that there is no common sense in the decision. This does not in anyway imply that the Navy should not have bases in the north but Kano shouldn’t be the right place to site it.
Perhaps, there might not have been any objection to the proposed facility if it was in northern states like Benue or Niger because of the flowing dams there which can provide suitable bases for naval activities. It would have also made more sense if the government had chosen the Lake Chad area to build one, mainly as a result of Nigeria’s international maritime borders and the threat of jihadist terrorism.
We also view the decision as nepotistic. This is because coastal areas in the Niger Delta where much of the nation’s shoreline exists like Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River have no functional naval base. So, building a Naval Base in the middle of the Sahel with threat of fast-spreading desertification is totally ill-conceived, parochial and absurd.
The argument that because the Navy has its Finance and Logistics Base in Owerrinta, Abia State, should also be applied to naval bases to be sited anywhere is weak and beyond any reasonable sense of judgment. Just to stress the point, Owerrinta is an hour’s drive to the nearest naval base in Port Harcourt so the advantage of it suffices.
We urge the federal government to have a rethink of the proposed Kano Naval Base. We also enjoin the government to upgrade existing “so-called” naval bases like the one in Warri which has suffered neglect.
Also, Bayelsa State which is entirely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the River Niger, should have a naval base to protect the shores of Nigeria and the oil companies, same for other coastal areas.
It is also our submission that it will serve national interest better to have all the nation’s naval establishments and resources within its maritime precincts. This call is valid especially now that Nigeria’s international waters are ranked among the most pirate-infested in the world.
We insist that it is wasteful to move our naval bases into distant dry areas that is of no value. The government should have a rethink of it and save us from the loss of money that will arise from building such base in Kano.