French Ambassador commends Nigerian Navy for security efforts in Gulf of Guinea
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency Mrs. Emmanuelle Blatmann, recently scored Nigerian Navy high in its bid to curb maritime insecurity, especially piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
This, she noted has contributed to boosting the nation’s economic activities. The Ambassador commended Nigerian Navy and the nation when she paid a courtesy call on the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa.
Her Excellency, Ambassador Emmanuelle Blatmann, stated that the visit was an upshot of a recent bilateral agreement between the French President, Emmanuel Macron and President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, to increase defence, particularly naval cooperation in the fight against piracy and other forms of criminality in Nigeria Maritime Domain.
She said the French President considers the purchase of OCEA ships from France as a trust that the Nigerian government repose in her country.
She also extolled the increased cooperation between Nigeria and France since 2014 and assured that her tenure would work towards improving same.
The former ambassador to Sudan further stated that her visit was to acknowledge the relationship between both countries as well as appreciate the cooperation.
She recalled that President Buhari recently called on international community to be more active and aggressive in maritime security response.
In view of that, Her Excellency said that she was looking forward to more collaboration through the EU’s Gulf of Guinea Maritime Security Strategy and Action Plan when France will be in full control in 2022.
It is pertinent to also note that the French Ambassador’s visit to Headquarters Western Naval Command is her first engagement with the Nigerian Defence since she assumed office in October 2021.
She asserted that “I am particularly excited for the opportunity to visit NNS LANA which is deployed for good use by the Nigerian Navy.’’
The Flag Officer Commanding, in his response, welcomed the Ambassador and her entourage to Western Naval Command.
He thanked Her Excellency for the visit and for choosing Headquarters Western Naval Command and NNS LANA as her first points of contact with the Nigerian Defence.
He reiterated that Nigeria and France have had a long existing human as well as trade relationships and collaboration and that the visit is an attestation to all important relationship.
The FOC also expressed his gratitude to the French government for her continuous support to Nigerian Navy’s fleet recapitalization and reorganization efforts, training of personnel and joint naval exercises like Ex Grand African Nemo in the Gulf of Guinea.
Admiral Gbassa said, ‘’it is heartwarming that the French Government is committed to Nigeria’s recapitalization and training efforts.’’ He said he would be looking forward to an increased partnership when France takes over EU’s leadership in 2022.
Her Excellency, while onboard Nigerian Navy Ship LANA (A499) which arrived Nigeria from France in May 2021, was requested to facilitate additional billets for technical training for Nigerian Navy personnel with the ship builder, OCEA and International Hydrographic Organization’s accredited categories A & B training in Hydrography, Oceanography and Cartography as well as accreditation of Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School, Port Harcourt.
The Flag Officer Commanding asserted that since the arrival of the Nigerian Navy Ship LANA, the Nigerian Navy has deployed her in various missions such as oceanographic and hydrographic survey, search and rescue as well as patrols.
Other missions which the ship conducted successfully include; ship to ship towing, helicopter winching operations as well as delivering assistance and supplies to other ships.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command also acknowledged the support by France to the Yaounde Code of Conduct especially the Yaounde Security Architecture for Regional Information Sharing System.
The FOC WEST presented souvenir to the French Ambassador and the courtesy visit ended at about 1300hrs.
The Ambassador, Mrs Blatmann, was accompanied by the French Consul General, Madam Laurence Montmayrant; Defence Attache, Colonel Guillaume Dujon and the Naval Advisor, Commander William Tostern.