The Nigerian Navy has concluded a regional maritime sea exercise to prevent pirate, bunkerers and other illegalities in the gulf of guinea.
The two day exercise tagged “OPIA TOHA” which was part of the lined up activities to mark the 60TH Diamond Jubilee Celebration was under the command of Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas at Naval Dockyard Jetty Victoria island,lagos.
The exercise had eight countries including Nigeria participated out of which four contributed ships with Nigeria having five, Cameroon one, France one and Ghana one while UK, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Namibia were observers in the 24-hour exercise which took place about 200 nautical miles off the coast of Benin.
Flagged off by Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, the Chief of Training and Operations of Naval headquarters, Abuja, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo, was the officer conducting the exercise.
General Olonishakin, who said part of its objective, was to sharpen the personnel’s skills on the conduct of anti-piracy operations noted that the exercise was also intended to test the navy’s ability to share information on the containment of maritime criminality within the Gulf of Guinea.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas said the exercise was based on a fictitious rescue operation of a hijacked merchant ship MT JAAHU and her crew which was hijacked of the coast of Republic of Benin.
Vice Admiral Ibas said the rescue was successfully conducted by a regional maritime force of countries of the Gulf of Guinea.
“looking at the navy at 60,we are doing very best ,just that we still require much more from government to enable us do better.
We need more assets ,we have big expanse of maritime space that needs to be covered ,we have the back waters as well as where the new emerging threats are coming from and we need vessels to be able to cover these areas,’’ he said.
Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo, who led the mock rescue explained that the exercise was also to consolidate on the gains of recent inter naval cooperation, particularly at operational level.
The Namibian Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Peter Vilho said that the exercise was successful, adding that the navy was doing its best to rid the nation’s waters of criminalities.
Some fleet and manoeuvres conducted during the exercise were Communication Exercise, Fleet Manoeuvres, Gunnery Exercise, Visit Board Search and Seizure.
Other dignitaries at the exercise were chief of naval staff of Cameroon, Rear Admiral Usman Jubrin, representatives of the sea Lord of the Royal navy of the United Kingdom and AFRICOM.