The Nigerian Navy and the French Navy on Monday flagged off two sea exercises namely ‘Exercise Crocodile Lift’ and ‘Exercise Grand African Nemo 2023’ to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The exercises were launched by Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla aboard Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) KADA at NNS BEECROFT, Apapa, Lagos State.
Five Nigerian Navy ships namely NNS KADA, NNS ABA, NNS UDU, NNS KANO, and the Deep Blue Lagos are participating in the exercises.
Ogalla said the exercises were initiated by the French Navy in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and other strategic partners.
“Several security breaches in the Gulf of Guinea pose serious challenges to Nigeria’s national wellbeing. Most criminal activities in the maritime domain are targeted at the economic lifeline of Nigeria through crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, and other nefarious acts,” he said.
He said a comprehensive approach involving national and international collaboration was required to mitigate the impact of myriad maritime threats confronting countries in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The sustenance of combined exercises to ensure security at the Gulf of Guinea has remained a great priority for the Nigerian Navy. Undeniably, Exercises Crocodile Lift and Ex-Grand African Nemo, which have both become annual events, are some of the well-thought-out international exercises involving the Nigerian Navy.
“These exercises have enhanced effective collaboration against maritime insecurity, crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, piracy, sea robbery, hostage taking, as well as illegal unreported and unregulated fishing,” Ogalla said.
He expressed optimism that the exercises would add impetus to his vision of a highly motivated professional navy capable of shaping security outcomes within Nigeria’s maritime domain.