To ensure proficiency in the handling of small arms during internal security operations, the Nigerian Navy on Monday took over 100 operatives through a refresher firing exercise.
Organised by the Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC) at Owode, Nigeria’s border community with Benin Republic, the Small Arms Firing Exercise (SAFEX) saw the personnel shooting weapons such as AK47, FN Riffle and Shooters and Gear (SnG) from 100 and 200 metres radius.
According to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) NAVTRAC, Rear Admiral Obi Ofodile, the training was necessary giving that naval operatives rarely handled light weapons.
By nature of their constitutional roles, Ofodile said naval operatives were used to handling big weaponry mounted on warships.
He said the aim was to prepare a formidable military, proficient in weapon handling and marksmanship, especially in the light of internal security challenges.
He said: “SAFEX is a part of NN schedule of events for 2018. Also, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, has made it clear that all commands and units must be proficient in the firing of small arms.
“It is assumed that at the point of entry in the navy, whether as an officer or the other ranks, we were taught to fire.
“However, given our different deployments, we might not have been given the opportunity to continue to handle such weapons all the time.
“So, this exercise would improve our proficiency in small weapons handling because by the nature of naval vessels, guns are mounted.
“The navy basically has big guns onboard our warships like the 127MM and the 40MN that are onboard the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Aradu. But when it comes to internal insecurity, small arms are more useful and so, our men must be up to their game at all times.
“This is because the navy is very much involved in confronting these security challenges and weapons used are such as the FN rifle, AK47 and the SNG.
“For you to be proficient and skillful in handling such, the importance of SAFEX comes to bear. Some of us finished our targets within the allotted time. However, even if you are 100 per cent good, you still need to brush up your skills.”