The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas has assured that the Nigerian Navy will continue to maintain existing relationships with its partners and work on the same trajectory towards sustaining the gains recorded in securing the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
He stated this while playing host to the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Stefano Pontesilli who paid him a courtesy visit at the Naval Headquarters today.
The CNS stated that there was close collaboration between the GoG regional navies towards stemming the tide of recent incidences of insecurity in the region.
He further informed that the navy had in the last four years reduced the incidences of illegalities, maritime insecurity and piracy in the Nigerian maritime space and within the GoG as efforts have also been intensified towards checking these crimes with positive results.
Vice Admiral Ibas submitted that the cooperation of international partners through exercises like the recently concluded Exercise GRAND AFRICAN NEMO will go a long way in further improving the safety of the region’s maritime environment as well as boost economic activities.
He also assured that the navy is open to exploring other avenues in the areas of training and capacity building for its sailors in hydrography as well as technical expertise in the operationalisation and maintenance of the Leonardo helicopter.
Speaking earlier, the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Stefano Pontesilli stated that he was in the Naval Headquarters to introduce the new Italian Defence Attaché to Nigeria, Colonel Michele Devastato to the CNS.
He stated that Italy was favourably disposed to further cooperation with the GoG in anti-trafficking and maritime security operations.
According to the ambassador, the visit was also to intimate the CNS of the successful completion of Exercise GRAND AFRICAN NEMO and that the participating European frigates were currently docking in Tema, Accra.
The ambassador added that the frigates will be moving back to the sea in the GoG of Guinea and remain there till the middle of December in order to consolidate on the successes of the recently concluded exercise.