By Onungwe Obe
The Central Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy has begun the retraining of its men in marksmanship and weapons handling to reduce collateral damage in its engagement in civil security challenges.
The exercise, which began yesterday at Elele 5th Battalion barracks of the Nigerian Army, was in small arm firing exercise and range classification. It was organised to improve personnel proficiency in weapon handling and professionalism.
The Field Officer Commanding (FOC) of the Central Naval Command, Real Admiral Suleiman Garba, who led officers and ratings to the training exercise, stressed the need for continuous qualitative training of its manpower to effectively safe guard the country’s territory and resources.
“The Central Naval Command 2020 Small Arms Firing Exercise and Range Classification is part of the Nigerian Navy schedule of events in 2020. It is organised to improve personnel proficiency in weapons handling and professionalism. The exercise will involve the firing of Tavour riffle, AK47 riffle, pistol and GPMG at different distances.
“Considering the current national security scenario and the multi-theatre operating involvement of the Nigerian Navy, it becomes imperative to continue to re-classify our weapons and refresh ourselves with the weapons.
“Targeted and focuses training on weapons handling will minimise collateral damages and unintended outcomes. Accordingly, the exercise would consolidate the proficiency of personnel of the command on weapon handling and marksmanship skills,” Garba said.
The FOC disclosed that the establishment of the Central Naval Command in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, has greatly contributed to the relative peace being witnessed in the Niger Delta, and said the five-day exercise would further help the command to rid the creeks of the remaining criminal elements and boost the country’s resources.
In his remark, the special guest of honour, the Air Officer Commanding of the Mobility Command, Yenagoa, Air Vice-Marshall Ibukun Ojeyeni, said this year exercise underscored the determination of the Nigerian Navy leadership to consolidate on the training success recorded so far.