Abayomi Olonisakin, chief of defence staff, on Saturday inaugurated 20 gunboats in Delta state in a bid to further boost security in the region.
At the inaugiuration, Olonisakin said the recent threat by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to resume hostilities in the region was a sad commentary on the collective security of the environment.
He expressed regret at the continued threat of violence, noting that the Avengers’ threat had dealt an unfortunate blow to the collective well-being of the oil-rich region.
The army chief said the new boats would help boost the Navy’s operational capacity, especially in the effort to stamp out various threats prevalent in the maritime environment.
While acknowledging the right of people to agitation, Olonisakin said any agitation associated with violence was unconstitutional and would be firmly dealt with by the armed forces.
“There has been continuing militarisation and proliferation of weapons among militant groups in the Niger Delta. This has ended up in a sharp increase in the threat level in the region.
“The inauguration of these platforms today is in line with the programme of general preparedness, which the Nigerian Navy has continued to maintain effective deterrent and good operational posture.
“It has pursued this by generating adequate maritime leverage domain awareness,” he said.
Olonosakin commended the Navy for patronising indigenous companies to construct 16 of the gunboats.
NAN reports that the other four boats were constructed by a South African company.
The CDS said the successful construction of the 16 boats was a clear testimony that with adequate encouragement, the underdeveloped technological capacity of indigenous companies could be harnessed for national development and improved security.