In order to enhance specialised skills of the Armed Forces and other security services, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Thursday handed over the Joint Maritime Security Training Centre (JMSTC) to the Nigerian Navy (NN).
This move was as a result of the threats to the maritime domain especially the creeks, backwaters posed by militants in the Niger Delta and the riverine communities of Lagos and Ogun states.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, while handing over the centre to the Navy, said it would ensure a more efficient management of maritime assets and capabilities in line with similar institutions such as the United States Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS).
Represented by the Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. Ahmed Mohammed, Olonisakin expressed hope that the JMSTC would become a centre for excellence in maritime security for the West African sub-region.
“The idea of establishing JMSTC was mooted in the wake of thr increase in sophistication and types of crimes in our maritime domain. It was conceptualised by the DHQ and the British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT) and the centre was established in 2009 with the mandate of enhancing the human capacity of personnel of the Armed Forces in littoral and riverine operations.
“It is a unique training institution in the sense that it is the only centre of its kind in Nigeria where security personnel are trained to acquire specialised skills in order to operate in the maritime domain.”
Continuing, the CDS said though the centre has done well in the past eight years, a recent assessment conducted by the DHQ showed that for better utilisation, it should be administered and controlled by the NN, which has expertise in maritime matters.
He said: “It is therefore expected that the NN would ensure the vision of training personnel from other services and security agencies continue woth the same tempo. “I strongly believe that the centre would be better repositioned to effectively carryout its duties in line with the objectives of establishing it.
“The centre was handed over to NN because it is better positioned to control and bring necessary assets within its purview to take it to the next level.
“Every asset in the centre has been handed over fully to the navy. We expect the navy to review what they have seen on ground. If there are observations and other things they think need to be done to upgrade the centre, they will forward to DHQ for necessary actions.”
In his remark, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo assured that security forces would continue to receive quality training in waterman ship, boars handling, weapon handling and underwater warfare to enable them address challenges in the nation’s wsterways and the creeks.
Ibas said plans were on to ensure that access to the training was expanded to accommodate other agencies and services that haven’t had the opportunity. He assured the CDS and other stakeholders that the concept would not change, adding that the NN would improve the quality of training to enhance manpower to address contemporary issues.”
Earlier, the Commandant, JMSTC, Captain Alexander Bingel said over 3,000 military personnel and officials of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been trained since the establishment of the centre.
At the event were the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC) Rear Admiral Ifeola Mohammed, Chief Staff Officer (CSO) Western Naval Command (WNC) Rear Admiral Thaddeus Udofia, Commander, NNS WEY, Commodore Mohammed Nagenu, Commander, 465 Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Hospital, Air Commodore Benjamin Okunola, and representatives of the British and United States military.
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