The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Monday launched a battle against criminals operating in Nigeria’s waterways.
It deployed 14 ships and two helicopters for a three-day onslaught against pirates.
The deployed warships include NNS Thunder, Obula, Prosperity, Nwamba, Nguru, Ekulu, Karaduwa, Andoni, Sagbama, Ose, Zaria, Okpoku, Tug Dolphin Rima and Tug Dolphin Rima.
They are expected to cover the entire stretch of the country’s maritime space to arrest any suspect vessel or individual found engaging in any form of criminality.
The exercise, codenamed Secured Waters, was flagged off at the Naval Dockyard Limited in Victoria Island, Lagos, by the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo said one of his cardinal priorities was to improve the operational efficiency of NN fleet.
“This is in line with the mandate of Mr President for the service to urgently restore normalcy in the nation’s maritime domain and emplace a conducive environment for maritime business to flourish.
Exercise Secured Waters is thus part of my strategic intent to position the NN firmly towards my articulated vision to align strategic intent with execution…
“Over the past years, the NN has made significant progress in the fight against various forms of maritime crimes.
“The sustainment of the aforementioned gains is hence critical to our national survival, given the huge contribution of the nation’s strategic maritime resources to national prosperity and development.
“Today’s Exercise is, therefore, a demonstration of the navy’s resolve to strengthen and consolidate on previous gains by acting decisively against pirates, sea robbers and other enemies of the state.
“Such strong commitment will further reassure our regional and international partners of our readiness to weather ongoing partnerships and collaboration towards our collective regional security,” he said.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, said assets were deployed from the three naval operations commands, Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC) as well as adequate support from the Logistics Command and autonomous units.
He said the exercise would present an opportunity for the navy to evaluate and revise her operational and projected fleet response plans to attain a focused alignment with the strategic guidance issued by the CNS.
“The Exercise also provides the platform to align our training objectives with our operational requirements and provides a test bench for the 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 GoG and the recent efforts to rejig the maritime security, particularly in the Lagos area.
“Within this context, maintaining our strategic deterrence posture and influence in the maritime environment is critical to our economic prosperity and regional stability.
“It is my firm belief that the exercise will give additional impetus to our overall maritime combat experiences to ensure that the NN remains relevant not only in the defence of the territorial integrity of Nigeria but also in other contributions to the nation’s economic prosperity,” he said.