Two war vessels on the fleet of 108 years old Royal Canadian Navy on Monday began landmark two-week visit to Nigeria.
The two vessels, HMCS Summerside and HMCS Kingston were received by Flag Officer, Commanding Western Naval Command, FOC, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah in Lagos who said Nigeria hopes to benefit from the age-old experience of the Canadian Navy.
“Canadian Royal Navy came into existence since 1910 and has participated in the first, second world wars and other wars, including United Nations Peace Keeping wars.
“You have the experience and with your strategic location at the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic ocean, we hope to tap from your wealth of experience. During the one-week stay of the ships, they will participate in Obagame Express, a maritime operation conducted by the United States of America Forces. The exercise is aimed at boosting maritime security in the pirate-infested Gulf of Guinea.
Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, Vice Adm. Ron Llyod, said the diplomatic visit is purposed to improve the efficiency of the Nigerian navy and to participate in the U.S organized exercise
“This visit is aimed at fostering the existing bilateral relationships and to boost the capacity of military personnel in Nigeria.
“We are looking into supporting our excellency (High Commissioner) with respect to Canadian relationship in Nigeria and we are proud to have two Canadian ships: HMCS Summer Side and HMCS Kingston that will operate in the exercise.”
The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Christopher Thornley, said the visit of the vessels will foster Canada - Nigeria’s bilateral relations: “Our bilateral relationship is going on and this is a step in the right direction to see military cooperation as part of multilateral exercise Operation Obagame.”
An average of 87 out of 122 average attacks by piracy in the Gulf of Guinea since 2007 to 2016 have occurred in Nigerian waters. Pirate attacks on vessels and violence in the Gulf of Guinea had become a global issue since 2011.
Denmark based agency, Risk Intelligence, said out of 119 attacks in 2016 on the Gulf of Guinea in 2016, 119 were perpetrated by Nigerian gangs.
In the first quarter of 2017, 43 attacks were launched in the Gulf of Guinea against vessels and this has necessitated the need for heightened bilateral cooperation between countries to tackle the problem as will be done during Obagame.