The Nigerian Navy is the largest and most powerful in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 25,000 active-duty personnel. It ranks first in Sub Saharan Africa with a staggering 416 commissioned naval vessels and second only to the South African Navy in combined tonnage. The Nigerian navy has three times more commissioned naval vessels than the British Royal Navy.
However, that doesn't mean the Nigerian navy comes remotely close to both navies. Only two Frigates and two corvettes can be considered true frontline vessels with adequate endurance, sensors to put up a fight with a sophisticated foe. The other ships are littoral patrol ships, survey ships, and other support vessels.
However, on a local level, the Nigerian Navy is king and is set to emerge as the most powerful in Africa after Egypt in the next five years. Vice President Yemi Osibanjo recently outlined plans to make Nigeria the leading center of power in all of Africa, starting with the Nigerian military. In 2016 the Nigerian Navy embarked on an aggressive Fleet Recapitalization Program. Between 2016 and today the Nigerian Navy has inducted 387 vessels.
It fields one of the most advanced maritime domain awareness systems in the world. In 2020 the Navy announced plans to bring back its anti-ship capabilities. In April the Navy announced it was acquiring a new Frigate to replace NNS Aradu as the Nigerian Navy's flagship. You cannot blame Nigeria for sparing any expense when 80% of its economic lifeblood lies on the most dangerous waterways on earth.
No country in West Africa has a credible Navy. Some can barely patrol their waters effectively much less contribute in a meaningful way the job of securing the Gulf of Guinea rests on the NN, who now have to patrol a vast expanse of water stretching 6,000km from Senegal. It is the only navy that can project naval power for enhanced maritime security in Nigeria's EEZ and the entire Gulf of Guinea. Not trying to be political on this note, just airing my humble opinion.
Photo Credit: Defence News Nigeria
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