29 December 2013, Lagos – To nip the rising tide of maritime illegalities especially in the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Navy, NN, said a joint naval exercise between African countries will begin in the first quarter of 2014.
The Chief of Naval Staff, CNS, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, made this disclosure in an interview with journalists during the ceremony held in Lagos to welcome Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Thunder from a four-month trip to Australia.
NNS Thunder had with its 164-crew sailed to Australia to attend the international fleet review and came out tops in the different exercises held, especially the tug-of-war, which they won.
The vessel which arrived the jetty of the Western Naval Command (WNC), Apapa, Lagos, was received by the CNS’s wife, Mrs. Vivian Ezeoba; the Chief of Engineering, Rear Admiral Emeraku Ijioma and the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Obi Umahi.
Others were the Flag Officers Commanding WNC, Eastern Naval Command and Naval Training Command, NAVTRAC, Rear Admirals Ibok-Ette Ibas, Joe Aikhomu and Goddy Ayankpele, respectively, amongst other serving and retired senior officers.
The CNS, who was represented by the Chief of Plans Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbor, said the forthcoming exercise would kick off with a diplomatic visit of NN warships to countries within the West African Coast.
He also added that the fleet would from 2014 commence its diplomatic duties by conducting flag showing exercises within West Africa countries including Cameroun, Togo and Ghana.
He said, “The trip made by Thunder was in line with the CNS’s Strategic Guidance 01 which is to ensure that the force’s traditional roles are fulfilled. We have just spoken about Strategic Guidance 01 and Strategic Guidance 02 is out and in this it stipulates that all the country that we have not visited for a while, we will begin to visit them in 2014.”
*Chiemelie Ezeobi, Thisday