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Nigeria, US Plan Joint Naval Drill To Combat Sea Piracy

THE Nigeria Navy says it will participate in a joint naval exercise led by the United States Africa Command (US Africom) targeted at addressing emerging cases of sea piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

Rear Adm. Samsom Bura, the Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command, disclosed this on Thursday at a news conference aboard naval warship, NNS Kada, in Onne, Rivers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Navy has successfully eliminated sea piracy within the nation’s waters, but the problem persists in other GoG countries.

Bura said that the upcoming exercise named ‘Obangame Express 2024’ aims to enhance security in the GoG region and foster collaboration among navies within the regional block and allied nations.

“Exercise Obangame Express is an annual multinational maritime exercise initiated by US Africom under the auspices of the US Naval Forces Africa in the GoG.

“The exercise, commencing on May 10, will feature Nigeria and other countries from Africa, Europe and North America participating simultaneously, with the Republic of Gabon serving as the host country.

“The objectives include promoting regional cooperation, improving maritime security, and enhancing the capabilities of the participating navies,” he added.

Bura explained that the Nigerian Navy would conduct the drill within Nigeria’s territorial waters and the GoG from May 10 to 17.

“The exercise will involve in-port training and at-sea scenarios like anti-piracy operations, gunnery exercises, visit board and search and seizure operations, and communication and information sharing among others.

“International and local partners, including a Spanish warship, representatives from the Federal Ministry of Justice, NIMASA, and members of the media, will participate in the exercise.

“The Nigeria Navy will deploy ships, aircraft, Special Boat Service teams (special forces), and maritime domain awareness facilities,” he added.

The Flag officer reaffirmed navy’s commitment to leveraging the exercise to combat crimes within Nigeria’s maritime area.

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