By Evelyn Usman
The Defense Headquarters ,DHQ yesterday, handed over the administrative control of the Joint Maritime Security and Training Centre , JMSTC to the Nigerian Navy, with a charge to impute its expertise in maritime matters into tackling security challenges in the nation’s maritime environment.
Speaking at the hand over ceremony at the JMSTC, Navy Town, Ojo, the Chief of the Defense Staff, General Abayomi Olonishakin , explained that the idea of establishing the centre was mooted in the wake of increase in sophistication and types of crimes in the country’s maritime domain. He added that it was conceptualized by the Defense headquarters and the British Military Advisory Training Team in 2009, with the mandate of enhancing capacity of personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Boasting that the centre had fared well in fulfilling its mandate , Olonishakin who was represented by Major General Ahmed Mohammed , explained that the decision to hand over the centre to the Navy was reached at a recent assessment conducted recently by the DHQ .
He said “ it was decided that the Centre will be better administered by the Nigerian Navy since expertise in maritime matters resides with the navy. This will ensure a more efficient management of maritime assets and capabilities in line with similar institutions such as the United States Naval Small Institution and Technical Training , NAVSCIATTS. This will further make it a centre of excellence in maritime security for the West Africa Sub-region. It is therefore expected that the navy would ensure that the vision of training personnel from other services and security agencies continue with same tempo”.
In his remark, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibass, assured that training of Military and Paramilitary personnel would be intensified, with a view to building a formidable force that would tackle insecurity in the nation’ s waters, as well as to checkmate activities of militants in the Niger Delta region and Lagos State.
Represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Rear admiral Adeniyi Oshinowo , he stated that t the navy would not only sustain the standard it met the training cetre but would also improve on it , According to Ibass: “ this institution will discharge its responsibility by ensuring that personnel are well trained in skilled , water manship, boat handling and all other necessary art and skill required to address the security challenges within our water ways, particularly our creeks in the Niger Delta region and other areas where we are witnessing all forms of insecurity and militant activities within Lagos area.
“ The institution has facilities and programme to develop skills among other agencies of government. Apart from the three armed services , paramilitary and all others that are in one way or the other involved in various aspects of maritime security across the nation and the gulf of Guinea would also benefit of this training.”
He however added that the concept of the institution as a joint training centre on maritime security would not be overruled by the navy, as it takes over the administrative control. Also, “ the concept of having a joint service training on structural manpower also remains unshaken. The concept of ensuring that this place provides the necessary bus-stops and access to all those who desire to acquire various types of trainings will remain . I can assure you also that there are already plans to ensure that access is expanded for other agencies and services that have not hitherto been availed such opportunity.”
Earlier in his welcome remark, Commandant of the centre, Captain Alexander Bingel described the handover of the centre to the navy as significant in the history of the Nigerian Navy , even as he acknowledged efforts of the Chief of the Defense Staff at sustaining activities at the centre , as well as the support of the Navy since the centre was established.