Gulf of Guinea: Nigerian Navy joins multinational maritime security drill
The Nigerian Navy on Friday said it deployed 10 warships and two helicopters in a joint multinational maritime exercise comprising 31 other foreign navies.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, inaugurated the exercise tagged: “Obangame Express 2022” in Onne, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers.
According to Gambo, the exercise is aimed at improving security in the Gulf of Guinea and boosting synergy with navies within the regional block and allied countries.
He said the Nigerian Navy will conduct the drill on Nigeria’s territorial waterways and the Gulf of Guinea between March 11 and end on it March 18.
“Exercise Obangame Express is an annual multinational maritime exercise, which was born on the need for GoG navies and coastguards to cooperate for regional maritime security.
“The Nigerian Navy will deploy 10 ships, two helicopters; maritime domain awareness assets as well as elements of the Special Boat Services (Nigeria’s naval special forces) in this year’s exercise.
“The exercise will make a positive impact on our combat operation through training while exposing other maritime-related agencies to the benefits of inter-agency cooperation and international collaboration,” he said.
Some of the countries that would participate in the exercise include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Denmark.
Others are Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, and Senegal.
Also participating are Sierra Leone, Togo, the United States of America as well as the Economic Community of West African States, and the Economic Community of Central African State.
“This year’s exercise is particularly instructive considering the efforts of our governments to operate the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which has potential intra-African trade by 33 percent.
“So, Obangeme presents an opportunity for the Nigerian Navy to work together with other regional and friendly navies to safeguard and secure the GoG, to boost maritime trade and commerce,” he said.