Maritime Security: Navy inaugurates training school in Lagos

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ette Ibas, says the Nigerian Navy has inaugurated Regional Maritime Awareness Domain (RMDA) Training school in Lagos to assist naval personnel in tackling maritime security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG).

Speaking in Lagos at the opening ceremony of the regional sea exercise, code named “Obangame Express”, Ibas said that school would enhance maritime surveillance and the operationalization of the Yaoundé Accord.

He said that the RMDA training school was facilitated by the US Government and urged regional navies to seize the opportunity for joint training offered to steadily improve capacity for collective response to security challenges in the GOG.

“The training school is expected to be beneficial to Nigeria, as it allows the training of a pool of naval personnel and other stakeholders operating legitimately in Nigeria’s maritime domain.

“The training school will also facilitate the synergy and cooperation between GOG countries in fulfillment and operationalisation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct,” he said.

On the sea exercise Obangame Express, Ibas thanked all the participating countries for their contributions in ensuring peace, stability and safe conduct in the maritime domain.

“It is common dictum that the vast resources and opportunities in the maritime environment of the GOG hold the prospect to finding solution to the economic and developmental aspirations of African states.

“The region has, however, frequently been unwholesomely challenged by multifaceted and evolving maritime threats which have led to unpredictable threat-Ievels and deepening conditions inimical to peace and security.

“Of particular concern is the realisation that many of these threats to effective exploitation and beneficial use of our maritime environment increasingly manifest as transnational and cross-border crimes and other illegalities.

“The migratory nature of these threats invariably calls for a united response by the regional navies and ‘coastguards through the’ pursuit of prudent capacity building actions on a collaborative model,” he said.

The CNS said this approach offered a feasible strategy for addressing the challenges of developing Africa’s blue economy.

“This esteemed assembly is no doubt fully abreast of the gains of the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050 and the Yaounde Code of Conduct of 2013 which have facilitated capacity building within a defined architecture for regional maritime security operations.

“This is the spirit that birthed the OBANGAME EXPRESS as a tool for enhancing the collective capabilities of GOG countries to counter sea-based illicit activities by improving regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness and tactical interdiction expertise,” he said.

Ibas said these instruments had also emplaced standards for inter-regional co-operation based on law enforcement at sea, information sharing and training, further enhancing multilateral collaboration in the GOG.

“This is the spirit that birthed the Obangame express as a tool for enhancing the collective capabilities of GOG countries to counter sea-based illicit activities,” he said. (NAN)