Rear Admiral Babalola Ogunjimi, the Nigerian Navy’s Chief of Training and Operations at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja has stated that the Nigerian military, in conjunction with special forces from the UK, U.S., Spain and Netherland have begun a joint training to enhance its capacity to combat terrorism in Nigeria’s maritime environment.
He said that the exercise would involve personnel and that 150 of them are drawn from units of the Nigerian armed forces, Army, Navy and Air Force while 739 are from the foreign Special Forces.
According to him, the training a.k.a “African Winds’’, began on Oct. 3, and was expected to last for 14 days and would be followed by a four days exercise conducted by Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) of the Special Forces in Lagos and Calabar, respectively .
He said the African Winds training and exercise will further improve the capacity of the Nigerian armed forces to deal with numerous security challenges in the Gulf of the Guinea including crude oil theft and attacks on merchant ships.
Ogunjimi explained that the programme was in furtherance of the Chief of Defence Staff’s drive to promote effective joint services operations among Nigeria’s armed forces and friendly military from other countries.
The exercise in Lagos is expected to take place between Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 at Ibeshe Beach and the Navy ordinance Depot (NOD) Waterfront.
“The exercise that will be conducted in Lagos include Amphibious Raid, Maritime Counter Terrorism, Vessel Boarding Stop and Search in an opposed environment and Hydrographic survey,’’ he said.
He said that the Calabar exercise would hold between Oct. 21 and Oct. 24 at the Tinapa and Muddy Beach in the state and Oron Beach in Akwa Ibom, and added that “other exercises to be conducted in Calabar include Riverine and Jungle operations which would be carried by a combined force from U.S., UK and the Netherland marines.
He said that an amphibious raid exercise planned and executed by troops from the Army, Navy Special Boat Service and the NNS Jubilee would be conducted at Oron Beach to end the exercise.
“Under the programme, the Netherland Maritime Forces is providing an amphibious logistic support ship, the HMNLS ROTHERDAM to support the training and exercise,’’ he said.
The chief of operations said that the ship contains 688 troops, four helicopters and six special boats called Landing Craft Utility (LCU) and Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP).
He said that other facilities in the ship include Fast Raid Interception Special Forces Craft used in inserting small number of specially trained troops from sea to land, particularly in the creeks.
Other countries covered by the programme are Morocco, Senegal, Ghana, Benin and Cameroun. (NAN)