By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The ships from 30 national navies will converge in the Gulf of Guinea today to conduct a week-long major naval exercise code named ‘Exercise Obangame 2016’.
The Director of Information (DINFO), Commodore Christian Ezekobe, in a statement yesterday, said the multi-national exercise will focus on increasing regional cooperation and inter operability to enhance maritime safety and security.
Ezekobe said that the exercise will be conducted in the Gulf of Guinea and will evaluate combined operations to counter illicit maritime activities utilising inter regional, regional and national whole-of –government approach towards curbing untoward activities in the Gulf of Guinea.

According to him, “the opening ceremony of the Exercise is scheduled for March 17, 2016 in Dakar, Senegal, execution phase from 14-24 March 2016 will take place at sea, while the closing ceremony is scheduled for 25 March 2016, in Doula, Cameroun.”
He said that the Nigerian Navy is committing three ships, NNS OKPABANA, NNS CENTENARY and NNS PROSPERITY for the Exercise which is the highest by any participating navy in the region.

He listed the 30 nations that are scheduled to participate in this year’s exercise to include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, and Ghana.
Others are Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Norway, Mauritania, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, South Africa, Togo, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the United States (US), along with regional organisations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).