On Thursday, the Nigerian Navy deployed 13 warships, two helicopters, and 1,500 troops in a special military exercise against pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.
The deployment was a joint naval exercise with the French Navy and the Royal Navy.
Naval Chief of Staff, CNS Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, announced the deployment at the launch of Exercise Grand African NEMO 2021 in Onne, Rivers.
Represented by Rear Admiral Obi Egbuchulam, the General Officer Commanding the Central Naval Command, Gambo said three foreign Navies will also participate in the exercise.
He said the six-day exercise was also aimed at containing waves of oil thief attacks on critical oil and gas facilities as well as other crimes in Nigeria‘s territorial waters.
CNS said: “Exercise Grand African NEMO 2021 is an initiative of the French Navy in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and allied partners, to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The exercise involves a multi-faceted deployment at sea and ashore of naval assets from the three operations commands of the Nigerian Navy.
“The exercise aims to ensure freedom of navigation in the country’s maritime environment and in the Gulf of Guinea by strengthening coordination in the fight against maritime insecurity.
According to Gambo, crimes include piracy, theft at sea, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing as well as illegal bunkering of oil and the illicit trafficking of people, weapons, and drugs.
He said the exercise would improve policing in the country’s exclusive economic zone and the navy’s capabilities and ability to secure the country’s waterways.
“To this end, the exercise will involve a total of 13 ships, around 1,500 people, two helicopters, and three foreign warships, including the French Navy and the Royal Navy.
“The Nigerian Navy Maritime Awareness Area facilities and Special Vessel Service (Navy Special Forces) elements will also participate in the exercise.
“The exercise will also cover the fight against piracy, the protection of oil installations as well as the conduct of search and rescue operations, among others,” he said.
The Naval Chief said the country’s economic zone had witnessed recent threats from criminal gangs, hence the Navy’s current new strategy to deny criminals freedom of action.
He said the morale of the troops had been boosted with the recent signing of the anti-piracy law.
According to him, the special military exercise will serve to consolidate the achievements of “Exercise Beni Kekere”, carried out three months ago, and of “Operation Calm Waters II” underway.
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NIMASA set to open Lokoja office to harness waterways resources
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has disclosed that the Agency is set to reopen the Lokoja office, as part of efforts towards harnessing the Blue Economy, enhancing collaboration, while also promoting Research and Development.
The DG, who made this known when he played host to the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA), Mal. Usman Hayatu Mazadu at the head office of the Agency in Lagos, noted that investment in research would play a major role in ensuring the harnessing of Nigeria’s maritime potentials.
“The key cardinal principle of opening the NIMASA Lokoja office is to improve on Research and Development.
He said, “Now, the Blue Economy has come to stay and very soon you will see the impact of what we have; in terms of the gains and benefits to grow our Gross Domestic Product while improving the well-being of our own Economy”.
Earlier in his remarks, Mallam Usman of KADSEMA lauded the Agency for the feat achieved so far, which cuts across the entire Nigeria.
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