The Nigerian Navy has introduced compulsory swimming lessons for all officers following a realisation that most of its junior and senior officers are incapable of conducting waterborne operations because they cannot swim.
According to Nigerian media, the incompetence of naval officers was revealed by Flag Officer commanding the Nigerian Navy’s Naval Training Command (NTC) Rear Admiral Goddy Anyankpele in his keynote address to guests who attended the launch of the navy’s first annual swimming competition at the Onne Naval Base in Rivers State late last week.
Rear Admiral Anyankpele said the navy’s training wing has realised that most naval officers do not know how to swim. He said as a result, the navy has decided to make it compulsory for all recruits and officers to undertake specialised swimming lessons suited for the military operating environment.
“The first annual intra-command swimming competition training was informed by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin’s observation that a good number of our personnel do not know how to swim.
“This observation means that anyone who claims to be a sailor without being a swimmer or one who keeps afloat during emergency at sea is equivalent to someone attempting to commit suicide.
“The CNS recognizing this risk has directed that henceforth, all personnel must know how to swim and should obtain a certificate of proficiency,” Rear Admiral Anyankpele said.
Anyankpele said the lack of swimming skills has in the past contributed to a number of accidents which have cost the lives of many officers during operations.