The Western Naval Command ceremoniously inaugurated the Fourth Quarter Sea Exercise, named EX EJA EXPRESSION, showcasing a multifaceted approach encompassing various maritime activities to enhance operational readiness and efficiency. The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan Gss FC(+) nwc(+) psc(+) (+) MA MSc MNIM welcomed participants, emphasizing the exercise’s significance and objectives.
Moreover, fleet maneuvers, gunnery exercises, vertical insertion, and VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure) training using helicopters and interceptor boats constitute key components of the exercise. Communication exercises and seamanship evolutions are also integral parts of the operation.
Hassan said that the name derived from both the Yoruba and English languages, “EJA,” meaning “Fish” in English, encapsulates the exercise’s essence. Among its core aims is addressing Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (IUUF) prevalent in the Gulf of Guinea.
The exercise is a multi-faceted outing and the name gives an inclination of the ideas behind it.
“It is well known that Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (IUUF) is significant in the GuIf of Guinea.
“Therefore, to hone our skills in our policing role, we will train today on vertical insertion and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) using our helicopters and interceptor boats,” he said.
The FOC added that other exercises like communication, and seamanship evolutions among others would also form part of the operation.
“The Western Naval Command is therefore launching this exercise to work up her ships and personnel in keeping up with our constitutional responsibilities.
“EX EJA EXPRESSION will greatly enhance the proficiency of Nigerian Navy personnel in the command and also enable us to test the operational state of our machinery,” Hassan said.
Also speaking, the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Doctrine Command Rear Admiral Habila Zakaria, who flagged off the exercise said that the exercise was to assess the fleet’s readiness to combat situations.
“The function of the Western Naval Doctrine Command is to conduct combat readiness assessments of all the fleets within the Nigeria Navy.
“This is to ensure that the fleets are always prepared to carry out their functions, whether during wartime or peacetime,” he said.
Zakaria said that the assessment would be based on conducting maritime operations, aspects of war-fighting, and checking how the ships carry out exercises to evaluate their major operational readiness.
“In a nutshell, as a Naval Doctrine Command, we will assess and work on them, contributing to the combatant CNS exercises,” he said.
The presence of Rear Admiral Zakaria, FOC Naval Doctrine Command, adds to the exercise’s depth, contributing to the assessment of combat readiness. The FOC urged personnel to demonstrate prowess, emphasizing the importance of a stellar performance to achieve commendable results.
The exercise, aligned with the Western Naval Command’s constitutional responsibilities, aims to refine the skills of naval personnel while assessing the operational state of machinery. Collaborative efforts with various stakeholders, including governmental agencies, underscore the significance of partnerships in fortifying interoperability and enhancing security within maritime domains. This collaborative approach contributes to the overarching goal of fostering a vibrant blue economy.
Hassan acknowledged the leadership of Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, Chief of the Naval Staff, and the unwavering support provided, ensuring a safer environment for economic activities within the area of responsibility. Recognition was extended to sister services, security agencies, and maritime stakeholders for their consistent collaboration in securing Nigeria’s maritime domain.
Expressing commitment to facilitating legitimate business activities within the waterways, the Western Naval Command called upon the public to share credible information to aid in eradicating criminal activities. Assurances were made regarding continued collaboration between the Command and the public for the nation’s greater good.