The Nigerian Navy on Monday reaffirmed it’s commitment to urgently restore normalcy in the nation’s maritime zone and emplace a conducive environment for maritime business to flourish.
The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Adm. Awwal Gambo reaffirmed this at the Flag-off Ceremony of the first quarter sea exercise codenamed “Exercise Secured Waters”, aboard the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) THUNDER, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Gambo said that the exercise was in line with the mandate of Mr President and Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to secure and create a conducive environment for improving maritime business.
“One of my cardinal priorities is to include the operational efficiency of the NN’s fleet in terms of sea readiness and availability for operational deployment.
“This is to speedily boost our capacity to meet our statutory maritime commitment.
“EXERCISE SECURED WATERS” is part of my strategic intent to position the NN firmly towards my articulated vision in other to align strategic intent with execution,” he said.
The CNS said “my vision for the navy on taking over command is to leverage on all factors of national location, technology, training, teamwork and synergy to reenergise the navy.
“This will enhance her as a well motivated and ready force in the discharge of her constitutional mandate, and other assigned tasks in the fulfillment of her nation’s security objectives.
“Accordingly, the exercise will test a broad spectrum of maritime operations inorder to enhance the security of Nigeria’s maritime security domain to check criminality at sea,”the CNS added.
Gambo said that the NN had made significant progress in the fight against various forms of maritime crimes over the past years.
“Therefore, the sustainment of the affore mentioned gains, is hence critical to our national survival given the huge contribution of the nation’s strategic maritime resources to national prosperity and development.
“The sustainment exercise is therefore, a demonstration of the nation’s response to strengthen and consolidate on previous gains by acting decisively against pirates, sea robbers and other enemies of the state.
“Such strong commitment would further reassure our regional and international partners of our readiness to weather ongoing partnership and collaboration towards collective regional security,” he said.
Gambo appreciated President Buhari for his support and provisions to the development of the navy at such a fiscally difficult period.
Also the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Oladele Daji said that the exercise presents an opportunity for the CNS to evaluate and revise operational and projected fleet responses and plans.
Daji said that this was with a view to attaining a focused alignment with strategic guidance issued by the CNS in his vision and mission statement on assumption of office.
“The exercise also provides a platform to align our training objectives with our operational requirements and logistics and provide a test bench of planning and execution of our coordinated strike capabilities.
“It is also pertinent to state that the exercise comes against the backdrop of cases of piracy in the Gulf of Guniea
“The ongoing effort to rejig the maritime security architecture within Nigerian maritime environment is therefore essential,”he said.
The FOC said that a total of 14 naval capital ships, two helicopters and a detachment of the Special Boat Service elements would be used for the exercise.
“The ships include: NNS THUNDER, OBULA, PROSPERITY, NWAMBA, NGURU, EKULU, KARADUWA, ANDONI, SAGBAMA, OSE, ZARIA, OKPOKU,L AND TUG DOLPHIN RIMA.
“The fleet will conduct several exercises which include: Anti-Piracy Operations, Protection of Oil and Gas facilities, fleet maneuvers, communication, Vessel Board Search and Seizure, Search and Rescue among others,”he said.
Daji said that the exercise would give additional impetus to the navy’s overall maritime combat experiences.
“This will ensure that the navy remains relevant not only in the defence of our territorial integrity, but also in contributing to the nation’s economic prosperity,” he said.