2014 NIGERIAN NAVY SMALL ARMS FIRING COMPETITION
The 2014 Nigerian Navy Small Arms Firing Competition took place at the 72 Special Forces Range, Makurdi Benue State on 14 – 17 October 2014. The event was participated by 6 commands including, Naval Headquarters, Western Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command, Central Naval Command, Naval Training Command and Logistics Command.
The Competition involved the use of 4 main weapons of General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), Sub-Machine Gun (SMG), Rifle (AK-47 for standardization) and Pistol in the Nigerian Navy inventory. At the end of the Competition, Naval Headquarters emerged Best Overall in all events while Logistics Command took the last position. Trophies and medals were awarded for Individual and Team events.
Present at the occasion were; The Governor of Benue State, his Deputy, Service Chiefs, Principal Staff Officers – NHQ, Flag Officers Commanding, Unit Commanders and Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command. Others include; Senior serving and retired senior officers, representatives of the Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Defence, the Inspector General of Police, Tor Tiv, Ochi Idoma and the Chairman Makurdi Local Government Area and a host of others
A major fleet evaluation exercise code-named Exercise Farauta, a Hausa word for hunting. This Exercise which lasted from 11 - 17 November 2012, is a quest in pursuance of the mandate of the president of Nigeria, to stamp out acts of illegality in the nation’s maritime domain.
The aim of the exercise was to intensify the ongoing naval operations in the Niger Delta region and pay emphasis on Bonny-Akassa-Escravos axis, an area which was notorious for crude oil theft. “The exercise enabled the NN to assess its operational capability with a view to identifying gaps and taking necessary measures to fill such gaps for enhanced operational readiness. The synergy of this effort ensured full mission accomplishment across the threat spectrum with specific emphasis to immediately end all criminal activities in the Niger Delta region.”
A total of eight ships, six gunboats and three helicopters including elements of the Nigerian Army and Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force took part in the exercise.
Speaking on the role of the Nigerian Army (NA) in the exercise, the Commander, 2 Brigade Port Harcourt, Brig-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said they were geared to launch assault against any acts of illegality. He said: “We are on board the ship as standby troops in case of any emergency. Per adventure we are required to, we will assault any illegal refinery or any criminal hideout discovered during the operation.” Also, the Command Operations Officer, Mobility Command of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Yenogoa, Bayelsa State, Air Commodore Joseph Adeleke, said the responsibility of NAF was purely surveillance-inclined. He said: “Our job is to carry out surveillance and give the navy feedback. We give them grid reference on the location of ships and then they will deploy their ships to that particular location.”
The ships involved were Nigerian Naval Ships (NNS) THUNDER, ZARIA, ANDONI, MAKURDI, BURUTU, OBULA, NWAMBA and KYANWA. Others are six gunboats, Augusta Helicopter 07, Augusta Helicopter 08, Augusta 08 and one Nigerian Air Force Maritime Patrol aircraft.
The Western Naval Command and Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy also conducted similar Exercises code-named EXERCISE ICHUNTA and EXERCISE NDIKARA respectively as a follow up to EXERCISE FARAUTA.
The Western Naval Command has successfully conducted Exercise ICHUNTA as a follow up to the recently conducted Exercise FARAUTA which lasted from 11 – 17 November 2012. The Exercise, aptly tagged “ICHUNTA” which is an Igbo word for hunting, was conducted between 16-18 December 2012, to further complement the efforts of the Nigerian Navy in providing adequate coverage of Nigeria’s maritime environment. The Exercise is also part of the Western Naval Command’s strategic contributions towards achieving the vision of the Chief of the Naval Staff to ensure safety of the nation’s territorial waters.
The three day exercise was led by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda who was onboard NNS NWAMBA. Several evolutions such as fire fighting, flood control, man ove-board, boarding party amongst others, were carried out in the course of the Exercise. Participating ships also carried out various formations, manoeuvres and individual patrols.
Speaking with pressmen who were onboard for Exercise ICHUNTA, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda stressed that constant presence at sea remains the most effective deterrent to criminally minded people. He added that; “It is certain that when they know we are out on patrol, they will keep off”. The Flag Officer Commanding further emphasised the need for Nigerian Navy to have the right platforms and required logistic support to constantly carry out patrol duties. Rear Admiral Ikioda expressed dedication towards ensuring effective policing of the Western Naval Command’s area of responsibility in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff’s transformation agenda.
At the end of Exercise ICHUNTA, the Flag Officer commended all participants and observers for a job well done. He thanked the Chief of the Naval Staff for providing logistics support required for successful conduct of the Exercise and promised that all observations made during Exercise ICHUNTA would be addressed in subsequent Exercises.
The Nigerian Navy intensified effort to rid the country of the various illegalities in the Nigerian maritime environment. Speaking to reporters in Onne on conclusion of the Eastern Naval Command Sea Exercise named NDIKARA, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Olufemi Ogunjimi, said that, the three day exercise which started on 14 December 2012 involved three ships, sixteen gunboats and one helicopter. He said that the objective of Exercise NDIKARA, which means “to dominate” in the Efik language, is to sustain the tempo achieved in the just concluded Chief of Naval Staff Fleet Evaluation Exercise which was held from 11 - 17 November, 2012. He said that the Exercise was aimed at increasing naval presence at sea in order to curb the activities of crude oil thieves, illegal bunkerers, pirates and sea robbers. The Flag Officer Commanding added that the Exercise had further enabled him to evaluate the capabilities of participating ships, gunboats and helicopters as well as to sharpen the professional skills of his officers and ratings.
Admiral Ogunjimi commended the conduct of the officers and men that took part in the Exercise, which he described as a huge success. According to him, several vessels were interrogated in the course of the Exercise, thus sending clear messages to would be criminal elements that the Nigerian Navy is ready to check and curb their criminal activities.
Addressing the officers and men that took part in the Exercise, Admiral Ogunjimi commended them for displaying high professional conduct, noting that, most of the lapses observed during the Fleet Evaluation Exercise in November have been corrected in Exercise NDIKARA. He therefore advocated for the sustenance of the standard achieved. The Flag Officer Commanding reminded them that the Nigerian Navy always rewards professional competence and frowns at mediocre performance.
Some of the ships which took part in the Exercise included NNS THUNDER, NNS KYANWA and NNS BURUTU. During the Exercise, the ships patrolled from Calabar River in Cross River State to ten nautical miles off the Bonga Oil Field. The Exercise equally covered the numerous creeks and river estuaries in Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. Admiral Ogunjimi was onboard Nigerian Navy’s newly acquired Offshore Patrol Vessel, NNS THUNDER to supervise the conduct of the Exercise. According to him, other operational Commands of the Nigerian Navy will be conducting similar exercises subsequently. All the ships, gunboats and helicopter that participated in the Exercise have since safely returned to their respective bases.