The Nigerian Navy has congratulated the navy and people of the Republic of Cameroon on the celebration of their National Day.
Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, (FOC), Rear Admiral James Oluwole played host to one of Cameroon’s Navy Ship, CNS Le Ntem at the Nigerian Navy Ship yard, NNS Victory in Calabar, Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
Rear Admiral Oluwole, who also received the Consul General of the Cameroon Consulate in Calabar, Foe Michel Atangana, expressed appreciation to the government and people of Cameroon for choosing to celebrate the event with Nigerians, especially, the Navy.
He described the visit of the Cameroon navy ship as extension of diplomacy since the two countries along other nation recently concluded exercise Obangame, which is the Cameroun word for togetherness.
According to Oluwole, “the roles of Navy in the world generally are three: the military role, the policing role and the diplomatic role. I want to welcome the Cameroonian ship on behalf of the Cameroonian people for extending that diplomatic role, which is enshrined in their naval operations, to us and it is also coinciding with the national day of Cameroon. It is very timely.”
He further remarked “I salute the efforts of the Cameroonian navy for going out to play that role. To further buttress the importance of this visit. You could recall that exercise OBANGAME, which has held for 11 years now, is a Cameroonian word which means togetherness. So, this emphasizes the need for us to be together.”
“In the last few years, we have seen that the naval cooperation between the two countries, has improved tremendously. I also want to recall the Yaoundé Code of Conduct that ties the ECCAS nations, the ECOWAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission countries, which has brought us together. It emphasizes that the maritime domain within the Gulf of Guinea is our responsibility,” he noted.
Gulf of Guinea Challenge
According to the FOC, there was need for greater collaboration among the Gulf of Guinea nations to constantly tackle what he described as threat migration on international waters.
The sea is open and criminals can move across. Due to the collaboration within the Gulf of Guinea, we have been able to arrest some of these challenges,” Rear Admiral Oluwole said.
He urged “Looking at the your vessel, it gives us some courage too as naval officers within the Gulf of Guinea that Cameroon is up to the task of addressing maritime crime. I pray that we will be able to build on this collaboration and see that we are able to contain the most important role we have, which is policing to checkmate the maritime crime within this region as a whole. This is essential to our economic growth.”
The Commanding officer of the Cameroon Navy Ship Le Ntem, Lieutenant Commander Bertrand Mekinda said his visit was to boost relations with the Nigerian Navy as well as celebrate their country’s unity with the Nigerians.
Mekinda stated “we are here for the friendship between our two navies. Also, it is important for us to celebrate our national day with you, Nigerian people, our brothers.”
At a cocktail to mark the event, the Consul General of the Republic of Cameroon Consulate in Nigeria, Foe Michel Atangana commended the Nigerian Government for its cordial relationship with the people of his country.
Atangana said the essence of the Cameroon national day was to celebrate the “unity of its people; to mark the day French and southern Cameroon came together as one. The presence of our navy and our host Nigeria symbolizes unending peace, unity and economic growth of both nations.”
Prior to the cocktail, there was a friendly football match between personnel of the Nigerian and Cameroonian navies.
Cameroon’s national day falls on May 20 every year and was set aside by the government to mark the abolishment of the federal system in favour of a unitary country in 1972.
In a national referendum, Cameroonians voted for a unitary state as opposed to the then existing federal state, where French Cameroon and British Southern Cameroon changed status.