Obangame Express (OE23), the largest multinational maritime exercise in Western and Central Africa, kicked off its 12th year with 33 participating nations, Jan. 23, 2023.
The exercise, hosted in Lagos, Nigeria, will feature both in-port and at-sea training scenarios including maritime operations center familiarization and exchanges on medical care, search and rescue operations, and boarding techniques.
“Illicit maritime activity threatens regional development efforts, weakens state security, and robs our African partners of the precious resources upon which they rely for economic growth and effective governance,” said Adm. Stuart B. Munsch, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. “Exercise Obangame Express is an important opportunity to improve our collective capabilities, build trust between our nations, and promote stability in a vitally important part of the world.”
OE23, one of three NAVAF-facilitated regional exercises, provides collaborative opportunities for African and U.S. forces, and international partners to address shared transnational maritime concerns. NAVAF’s ongoing maritime security cooperation with African partners focuses on overcoming the challenges of maritime safety and security in the region.
The exercise is an opportunity for like-minded partners to work together to develop African-led solutions to shared transnational challenges and promote global security.
Nigeria, OE23’s host, is an important partner of the United States in promoting a peaceful, well-policed Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria also maintains the largest navy in the Gulf of Guinea region and is critical to security and stability in Africa.
“Obangame Express 2023 reflects the United States’ continued dedication to our partners in the Gulf of Guinea as they strive to secure their people, their economies, and their resources. We are delighted that Nigeria is hosting this military exercise, as we firmly believe that maritime security in Nigeria and its neighbors will lead to greater prosperity for the region as a whole,” said Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria.
The exercise takes place across five zones in the southern Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Guinea – stretching from the West African island of Cabo Verde to the Central African shores of Angola, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
The 33 nations participating in OE23 include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, The Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, and the United States. Also participating will be the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
The U.S. shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent, because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.
For more than 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.
IGP Tasks Officers to be Professional, Firm, Decisive
The Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc(+), NPM, NEAPS, fdc, CFR, has tasked Police Mobile Force (PMF) Commanders to teach their men to be professional, firm and decisive while deployed for the 2023 General Elections security management. The IGP gave the charge during the closing ceremony of a two-week combat training/seminar for heads of Police Mobile Force Squadrons and formations nationwide which held at the Police Mobile Force Training College, Ila-Orangun, Osun State on Monday 23rd January 2023.
The IGP, who was represented by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of the PMF, AIG Ali .A Janga psc, mni, emphasized the need to be apolitical and professional in their conduct and to exhibit all forms of humility and humanity while shunning corruption and all forms of illegality.
The IGP appreciated the host Commandant, PMF Training College, Ila Orangun, ACP Wilson Dankwano, PMF staff officers, and other resource persons for a wonderful training experience which afforded all the participants opportunity to deepen their knowledge through experience sharing and contemporary instruction.
The Inspector-General of Police has therefore assured that the Police, as the lead agency, and coordinating arrowhead for election security management in the country, is unrelenting in ensuring that its officers are adequately prepared and ready for a secured and peaceful electoral process to bequeath to Nigerians free, fair, credible, and acceptable elections in 2023.
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