By Evelyn Usman
No fewer than 2,500 naval personnel drawn from 33 countries’ navies, including United States Coast Guards, participated in the just concluded multinational maritime exercise, codenamed Exercise Obangame Express, with the aim of addressing piracy and other various forms of illegalities in the Gulf of Guinea, GoG, region.
In addition, 95 ships of which eight belong to Nigerian Navy and 12 aircraft, participated in series of exercise and surveillance of the GoG region, in an apparent signal to pirates to stay off the corridor.
Commander, US Naval Forces Africa, Admiral James Foggo, who made the disclosure, weekend, while briefing journalists at the closing ceremony of Obangame Express 2019, hosted by Nigerian Navy, said drug-sniffing dogs also participated in the sea exercise for the first time in nine years, with a view to arresting suspects who used the GoG corridor for illicit trafficking of drugs and weapons.
Describing this year’s exercise as a milestone success when compared to previous ones, Foggo scored Nigerian Navy under the watch of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, high in its ability to host a successful exercise.
In his remark, Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, noted that before now, security threats in the maritime domain posed an increasing policing demand for navies in the Gulf of Guinea region. He said the capability gap among navies of the Gulf of Guinea region gave rise to greater international collaboration and inter-agency cooperation across various national capabilities.