By Evelyn Usman
The Commander, Allied Joint Force Naples /United States Naval Forces,Europe-Africa , Admiral James Foggo, in Lagos, declared his forces’ readiness to assist the Nigerian Navy tackle security challenges in the country as well as criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
Foggo, who made the declaration during a courtesy call on the Flag Officer Commanding ,FOC Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy , Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, described the Nigerian Navy as the largest in the West Coast of Africa. But he called for the need for the Nigerian Navy to train more and share ideas with other countries, if the war against insurgency would be won and sustained.
He explained that the essence of US Navy ships in Nigeria was to participate in the 2018 Obagame express, an at-sea maritime exercise conducted by the US Naval Forces Africa , to improve cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.
He said: “ We are here to execute exercise Obagame express,which is the largest naval exercise in West Africa and the goal is to sharpen our skills, train and plan for enhanced security for the territorial limit security in West Africa countries and into the economic zones.
“ Nigeria has a Navy that is extremely powerful, extremely strong and the largest in the West Coast of Africa . So, as we train together and share best practices get together with our partners, as we talk about how to maintain the security, lessons learnt, spill over to the same kind of security processor and training tactical procedures in the Niger Delta, or for your commanders who will need some of the operations up North, against Boko Haram and ISIS.
“ You(NN) are aware that you are operating in an environment that is a threat to Nigeria. We are happy to share this lessons with you. So, we are here to help you anywhere we can and you can count on us on trainings , part of which comes up at our NEPALE headquarters, by November 2018.”
Responding, the FOC , WNC, Rear Admiral Abbah , noted that the relationship between both navies had come a long way , informing that naval personnel had benefited through trainings and acquisition of some warships fro m the US government in general and its Navy in particular. .
He also expressed optimism that the relationship between both navies would wax stronger, even as he clarified that the only part of Nigeria that was initially ridden with crisis was the North East and not the entire nation as assumed by the outside world. He informed that the Nigerian Navy had established its war college, urging the visiting Admiral release some of his personnel to acquire trainings.