The Navy has deployed eight ships and two helicopters in the Gulf Guinea for a special exercise codenamed, Operation Beni Kekere 2021, known in Ijaw language as water protection.
Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral SK Ibrahim made this known weekend saying the maritime domain in the Gulf of Guinea is very strategic to national security and development.
Rear Admiral Ibrahim disclose that the resources in the gulf had been persistently threatened by piracy, sea robbery, crude oil theft and illegal bunkering as well as illegal unreported and unregulated fishing among others.
Emphasizing that the Nigerian navy had recorded landmark achievements in curtailing the maritime threats, he said the persistency of perpetrators required consistent review and renewal of strategies to deny them freedom of operation.
Ibrahim said, “It is in this regard that the Eastern and Central Naval commands joint exercise, which is first of its kind in recent years, is organised to consolidate on the successes of the ongoing Operation Calm Water II” .
He said the operational bases and Naval security stations in the two commands would conduct clearance operations against criminal hideouts and illegal refineries in the backwaters in collaboration with Operation Delta Safe.
The FOC expressed optimism that the operation would provide the necessary bite to the nation’s anti-piracy law recently passed by the National Assembly.
Rear Admiral Ibrahim commended the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice-Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, for providing the necessary support for the exercise.
Also Speaking at flag off ceremony, FOC, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Kennedy Egbuchulam, said the essence of the exercise was to enhance collaboration and combat capabilities of the navy against criminality.