By Chiemelie EzeobiÂ
No fewer than 45 operatives deployed by the Nigerian Armed Forces, weekend graduated from the NigerianÂ Navy Special Boat Service (SBS) after their five-month training as special defence forces in the fight against insurgency.Â
This is just as three were disqualified having failed to live up to the standards expected, given the specialised nature of the operations they would be deployed to.Â
The graduands drawn from the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Army, were trained on Tactical Riverine Operation and Fast Rope Insertion and Extraction System (FRIES).
These specialised trainings especially FRIES, is expected to come in handy for the personnel when they are deployed back to the theatre of operations, but this time as special defence forces.
With the FRIES, the operatives are expected to be inserted and extracted into the theatre of operations by helicopters and aircrafts for special operations, without jeopardising the ground operations already established.Â
In his welcome address, the Commander SBS, Commodore Rick Michaels, said the training was approved by the defence headquarters with a view to building a formidable team that would assist regular forces in the military at the theatre of war.
On the FRIES system which the graduands were trained on, he said it was established to ensure access intoÂ areas where aircraft cannot land on during operations.
He said: â€œThe special forces units are a team of small and highly trained military personnel meant for special operations which are conducted in hostile and politically sensitive environment.Â
â€œIn the selection process, we tasked and pushed every individual to the limit of their mental and physical tenacity. The moment anyone broke down, we took him out. We donâ€™t compromise on that.
â€œApart from the fact that it is a very sharp and leading edge training, we need trainees to be able to catch up fast because the special force has a wider latitude of skill than the regular forces.â€
He was however quick to add that those disqualified could be fit for any other military duties, adding that at SBS, â€œboys are trained to be men andÂ men turned into flaming warriors ready to go against the tide. We operate in small numbers and we usually leave no trace.â€
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai, said the special forces are a very important unit which carries out significant operations in the theatre of war.Â
He said: â€œThese Â onesÂ are specialised section of the military that areÂ inserted to carry out a particular task and pulled-out afterwards so as to make a placeÂ conducive for the regular forces to move in.Â
Â â€œThe special forces are not part of the regular forces. By the nature ofÂ their work, they are supposed to be together and anytime there is an operation,Â they are called upon to render their services and pull out.â€
Addressing the graduands at the end of an insertion and extraction demonstration of a mock war scenario, the FOC who was represented by Commodore Samuel Kure, charged them to put everything theyÂ learned into practice in real war situations.
Also, speaking on the support lent by the airwing of the navy, the acting Â Commander, Nigerian Navy Airbase, Captain Mustapha Braimah, expressed satisfaction over the demonstration of the graduands.
He explained that one of the reasons why the training was necessary was to build capacity with a view to addressing the menace of insurgency in the North-east and militancy in the Niger Delta region.Â
He said: â€œThe integration of the Nigerian Â Navy air arm with the SBS Â is to prepare us and buildÂ our capacity to meet up with every challenge. Whenever we are being called upon, we must contribute our own quota.â€Â