The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS); Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, on Friday said the 2023 multinational maritime exercise in the Gulf of Guinea, codenamed ‘Obangame Express’, was a huge success.
Gambo said this during the review of the exercise at the Admiralty Conference Centre, Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island in Lagos.
Obangame Express is an annual multinational maritime exercise for naval commands in the Gulf of Guinea.
It began on Jan. 27 with 32 participating nations, and was meant to encourage maritme safety and security in furtherance of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.
The Yaoundé code of conduct was signed in June 2013 by the governments of countries in and around the Gulf of Guinea, to repress piracy, armed robbery and illicit maritime activities in West and Central Africa.
Gambo said that the maritime exercise, which brought together foreign partners had also improved competencies through interaction with one another.
”The exercise exposed distinct salient points and critical observations, which are apt, relevant and will remain valuable towards improving future exercises.
”For example, we are expecting to conduct Exercise Aman later in the year and lessons learnt from Ex -Obangame will be applied in this exercise.
”I appreciate the diligence of our indefatigable observers for a great job and also commend the level of preparedness for the exercise, which manifested in commendable performances,” the CNS said.
Gambo also commended partner nations that dispatched ships that participated in the sea exercise, particularly the U.S. and Spain.
He said that the participation of their ships enhanced capacity development and facilitated safe, more secured and enabling maritme environment for socio-economic activities to thrive within the Gulf of Guinea.
”I specifically acknowledge our U.S. partners, particularly the African Command towards encouraging and bolstering regional cooperation and collaboration.
”They have helped in the establishment of the regional maritme domain awareness facilities in coastal states across the Gulf of Guinea, and sustained capacity through the facility’s training school at Apapa, Lagos.
”These are absolute powerful testimonies to the steadfast commitment of the U.S. Government to enhancing maritime security across board,” the CNS said.
Gambo added that these efforts facilitated the integration of relations of the Navies, aimed at achieving holistic and sustainable maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
He said that the magnitude of most maritime threats and their interconnectedness, coupled with the diversity of impacts, demanded collaborative framed responses.
”This is important because no single Navy or coast guard can do it alone.
”Lessons from this exercise will be developed into collaborative actions that will support strategic initiative to enhance collective preparedness to successfully curb emerging maritime challenges in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.
”I also appreciate our Nigerian Navy participants that contributed in making the exercise a huge success,” Gambo said.
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