Bassey Inyang in Calabar
Eighteen military officers have graduated from the Naval Warfare Course 3 of the Naval War College in Calabar, Cross River State.
The latest graduates are the first set since the inception of the inauguration of the War College at its permanent site in Calabar in 2017.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command in Calabar, the Minister of Defence, Major Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd), charged the graduands not to fail the nation that has invested so much in training them.
“The nation expects you to be focused on your assigned duties and to justify the huge resources that were committed to your training.
“This can be achieved by employing the knowledge and competencies gained from the college in your future assignments. I am optimistic that your performance in the field would attest to the growing reputation of the college as a centre of excellence for maritime security studies in the sub-region,” Magashi said.
The minister, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, the College Board, the Commandant, members of faculty and the staff for their giant strides in the War College.
He promised that the federal government will continue to support the Nigerian Navy to attain success.
“There is no gainsaying that the Defence Headquarters will continue to support the Naval Headquarters in meeting the training needs of the college,” the minister said.
Continuing, the Defence Minister said: “In particular, Mr. President recently assented to the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill of 2019. It is expected that this will further support the efficiency of naval operations designed to contain crude oil theft and other illegalities in our maritime domain.”
The Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ivara Esu, who represented the state Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, said that the college was relocated to Calabar in January 2019 and thanked the federal government for siting the college in the town.
He assured the navy that the state government will continue to support the college to achieve its arms and objectives.
In his welcome address, the Commandant of the College, Rear Admiral A.O. Ayobanjo, said that the participants passed through both written and oral assessments and have been imbued with the capacity to plan and execute warfare in defence of the nation.
Ayobanjo disclosed that the duration of the course programme has been extended from six months to eight months.
Giving a breakdown of the number of graduates that have passed through the war college, Ayobanjo said: “A total of 47 officers have so far graduated from the college since inception in May 2017. 14 officers graduated in 2017, 15 in 2018 and 18 in 2019. Amongst those graduating in 2019 are one Army Lt. Col, 15 Naval commanders, and two Air Force Wing Commanders.
“The successes being recorded by the college has been made possible through established strategic training partnerships with various institutions in and outside of Nigeria. Notable among our partners are the Centre for Strategic Research and Studies, National Defence College Nigeria, the British Military Advisory Training Wing of United Kingdom, and various universities such as the University of Calabar, Ibadan and Port Harcourt among others. These institutions facilitate some aspects of our course curriculum and provide credible resource persons that contribute to our capacity development efforts.
“All the graduands are entitled to use the appellation, Fellow of Naval Warfare College, Nigeria and are considered capable of undertaking higher operational level command responsibilities and making meaningful contributions towards addressing any of the nation’s security challenge.”