Navy ascribes improved maritime security to international collaboration

(L-R) Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Halilu Zakaria, Commandant of French Navy Ship, Commandant BOUAN, Lt.-Col. Benoit Renie and other French naval officers during their visit to the Command.

Cooperation between the Nigerian Navy, the French Navy and other navies in the Gulf of Guinea has reduced insecurity in the gulf,

Chief of Staff at the Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Adm. Halilu Zakaria, made the declaration in Lagos on Wednesday.

He made the declaration when he received Lt.-Cdr. Benoit Renie, Commandant of the French Navy ship, FNS Bouan, who was on a visit to the Western Naval Command.

Rear Adm. Zakaria represented Rear Adm. Jason Gbassa, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command at the occasion.

Zakaria said that a lot of successes had been achieved through collaboration with other navies at the Gulf of Guinea.

“One of the strategic directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, is improved international collaboration.

“The presence of the ship FNS Bouan within the Gulf of Guinea further shows the collaboration that the Nigerian Navy has with France.

“The interest of France within the gulf is a welcome development and this is something that the Nigerian Navy will look forward to in partnering with them for improved results,’’ he said.

Zakaria stressed that the collaboration with France and other navies in the form of joint exercises had improved strategies and increased response time to maritime threats.

“All these programmes are a way of reducing insecurity within the Gulf of Guinea,’’ he added.

Responding, Lt.-Cdr. Renie said that working together with the Nigerian Navy and other navies had actually led to improved maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

“We are visiting Nigeria here in Lagos which has been our first visit in two years and we are here to reinforce partnership between the two countries.

“We will be here for two days before we leave on Friday and will work together on a one-day joint exercise before we leave to continue our patrol at the Gulf of Guinea,’’ he said.

Renie said that France had played a big role in helping African stakeholder countries involved in the Gulf of Guinea to increase their ability to share information as a strategy to tackle maritime insecurity. (NAN)

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