With the dearth of decent and affordable accommodation biting harder among Nigerians coupled with the attendant escalating cost of rents, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, recently said that only 30 per cent of the officers, representing 6,000 personnel have permanent accommodation.
Ibas, who spoke during the commissioning of the Nigerian Navy Officers Quarters at Kubwa, said the facility would house only about 66 officers and the their families, noting that the situation would degenerate if deliberate steps are not taken to address the accommodation needs of officers.
In order to nip more problems related to accommodation in the bud, the Chief of Naval Staff appealed to the Ministry of Defence to accord the Nigerian Navy appropriate considerations in the intervention projects of barracks’ provisions.
He stated that aside the accommodation, 70 per cent of its personnel welfare needs were unmet resulting in significant gaps in the accommodation needs of both officers and men in the country.
“For instance, the Nigerian Navy is only able to cater for permanent accommodation of 6,000 of its personnel, which represents less than 30 per cent of its total accommodation needs.Additionally, due to the peculiarities of military deployments, transfer accommodations are also required for personnel serving outside locations of their permanent residence.
“To this end, only about 4,500 personnel, which is less than 40 per cent of the required transit accommodation has been achieved. With a projected annual need of about 2,500 ratings and 200 officers, the accommodation situation will continue to worsen if deliberate steps are not taken in the short and medium terms to match intake,” he noted.
One of the compelling developmental objectives in the NN transformation plan, which is instituting affordable housing ownership schemes for personnel and provision of adequate accommodation will be met, he assured the personnel.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Nuratu Batagarawa, while commissioning the project, said she hoped that the accommodation would boost the morale and operational efficiency of the personnel towards contributing positively in enhancing improved maritime security and nation building.
She noted that accommodation challenges “in view of the NN peculiar inadequate barrack accommodation situation, will be given more consideration to ensure delivery of more living quarters to NN personnel. Our ability to account for the funds spent on this project makes it easier to attract more government funding,” she stated.