The Western Naval Command (WNC) of the Nigerian Navy (NN) has said that the threat to security in Nigeria has necessitated taking the security of maritime as a priority for economic survival of the country through getting the operatives and facilities ready for the challenge.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak said this yesterday during the flag-off ceremony of Exercise AMUM BUNENG 2018 in Lagos.
The FOC while addressing the press said that the maritime space was a store house to various natural and non-living resources including enormous hydrocarbon reserves which constitute the mainstay of the nation’s economy.
According to him, the prospects are being undermined by a wide range of maritime security threats such as crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy, marine pollution, among other vices.
He however stated that the Nigerian Navy saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding the vital national interests has activated Exercise AMUM BUNENG in pursuant of its objectives to forestall sanity by developing naval force that is well trained, organised and highly motivated to discharge its constitutional roles.
His words, “The nature of these security threats, especially their impacts on the economic survival of our nation has resulted in the protection of the maritime space becoming a key priority for the country and in particular, the Nigerian Navy which is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of safeguarding these vital national interests.
“Exercise AMUM BUNENG, which was activated a few hours ago, is therefore being conducted in pursuant of the objectives and in furtherance of the Chief of the Naval Staff Mission which is ‘to develop a naval force that is well trained, organised and highly motivated to discharge its constitutional roles professionally and efficiently for the defence of Nigeria in ensuring her economic prosperity”.
Rear Admiral Ngalabak added that the aim of the exercise was to assess the operational readiness of ships and bases within the Western Naval Command’s Area of responsibility.
The exercise which is planned to cover a wide range of contemporary naval scenarios and evolutions, expects ships and bases would be availed the opportunity to be exercised on Fleet Manoeuvres, Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC), helicopter operations, tracking exercise (Trackex), Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), Gunnery exercise (Gunnex), Riverine Operations and Fighting Exercise.
The exercise is also intended to give the command the opportunity to ascertain operational readiness of the Western fleet in furtherance of the Navy’s policing roles.
In view of these challenges, he quipped that the Navy in collaboration with other maritime Law Enforcement Agencies had collectively developed a document titled: Harmonized Standard Operating Procedures on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Vessels and Persons in Nigeria’s Maritime Environment.
He reassured that the command would not relent in its efforts at ensuring that it is safe and conducive for the conduct of legitimate maritime activities within its area of responsibility.
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