Thursday, February 16, 2017 7:03 pm
The Nigerian Navy on Thursday said plans were underway to set up three bases in the Lekki-Epe, Ikorodu and Takwa Bay areas of Lagos State.
The Flag Officer Commanding, (FOC) Western Naval Command, (WNC), Rear Adm. Fergusson Bobai, spoke of the plan during the visit of some course participants of German Armed Forces General Staff College (GAFGSC) to the command headquarters in Apapa, Lagos.
According to him, the development, which has been approved by the Naval Headquarters (NHQ), is part of the efforts to curtail rising cases of kidnapping and other maritime crimes bedevilling the region.
“A Forward Operation Base (FOB) would be established around the Lekki Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to ensure that all vessels sailing beyond Takwa Bay are monitored.
“The NHQ has approved a Forward Operation Base (FOB) towards Epe axis, a base at Takwa Bay and one at Ikorodu.
“The importance of the three naval bases within that vicinity is that if you are going to sea, you must pass Takwa Bay.
“Sailing onward, you must pass the Lekki Free Trade Zone; essentially, all the sea routes have been factored in.
“Now, we have to open up these units with patrol boats and maybe in the nearest future with bigger capital ships,” he said.
The German Defence Adviser to West Africa (DA), Col. Thomas Brilli-Sawa, said Germany had promised to donate some Epenal boats to the Nigerian Navy, as well as train some of its engineers.
When asked if Germany had plans to assist the navy in refitting Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) ARADU, which was bought in that country over 30 years ago, Brilli-Sawa said a German team had been sent to carryout assessment of the vessel.
He, however, said Germany was considering the option of assisting the Nigerian Navy to get another capital ship.
The leader of the delegation, Col. Manfred Ertl, said:”We are here to see Africa security architecture.
“Some of these participants have spent one year on the course, with focus on European security structures.
“So, we decided to show them other structures, especially in Africa, as the region is the future of military stabilisation.
“We are visiting two countries in Africa — Nigeria, being the regional power of the region because they are major troops contributor to the United Nations, and Ghana because of the Kwame Nkrummah Security Institute.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bobai later spoke with journalists on the visit, commended the drive by the visiting team to explore security architecture of other continents.
On anti-piracy operations of the navy, especially within the Gulf of Guinea Zone E arrangement, Bobai said information was shared between sister navies.
“We share information and there is synergy between navies in the zone.
“In the arrangement, the navy with the most capabilities tends to take the lead, especially those with more capital platforms, and in this case, Nigeria,” he said.
NAN reports that Bobai, who spent a year in Germany during his General Staff College Course, welcomed the team in Dutch, eliciting smiles from the delegation.