On Friday March 11, 2022, there was an official flag-off ceremony of Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS held onboard NNS Thunder. This year’s exercise witnessed participants from about 32 countries onboard their various war ships within their country’s area of responsibilities.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu-Gambo, flagged off this 2022 Exercise Obangame Express. The exercise is aimed at improving security between Gulf of Guinea navies and allied friends.

Vice Admiral, Zubairu-Gambo said the exercise is designed to “improve regional collaboration through joint operations, intelligence sharing and harmonized legal framework to enhance collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea nations against maritime crime”.

The Chief of Naval Staff, in his address during the flag-off onboard Nigerian Navy Ship Thunder at Onne Jetty, in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State disclosed that the Navy will deploy ten ships, two helicopters as well as elements of Special Boat Service (SBS) for the exercise. Furthermore, the Chief of Naval Staff commended United States Government through the US Africa Command and other International partners for facilitating and sustaining the exercise.






In what was a multi-faceted deployment of assets of the Eastern and Central Naval Commands of the Nigerian Navy, both at sea and in the backwaters, the recently held Exercise Beni Kekere was aimed at demonstrating their operational capability in securing the nation’s maritime domain, as well as the Gulf of Guinea waters.

For the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) and Central Naval Command (CNC), Exercise Beni Kekere was an opportunity to deploy ships, helicopters and men for a joint sea and shore exercise targeted at demonstrating their operational capability in securing their contiguous areas of responsibility (AOR).

To achieve this, both commands deployed a total of eight ships, two helicopters, Maritime Domain Awareness facilities and elements of the NN Special Boat Services (SBS).

“The exercise nicknamed “Beni Kekere” means ‘Water Protection’ in Ijaw language and aptly captures the primary responsibility of the NN, which is to protect Nigeria’s maritime environment against all threats.



The defence of the maritime domain of Nigeria is synonymous to the survival and protection of key infrastructure and platforms across the nation. However, the actualization and sustenance of this task is highly depended on the ability of the Nigerian Navy (NN) to effectively secure its habour, exercise the men and platforms among others.  Consequently, as part of the Nigerian Navy Schedule of Events 2021 and in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff Strategic Directive 2021 – 5, the Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy activated OPERATION  AWKWARD 2021 code named “EXERCISE SECURE RESPONSE”  The purpose of the Exercise among others was to reinforce the prevailing security arrangement of the ships, units and bases in the Eastern Naval Command in order to build capacity to effectively prevent and repel any form of attacks by economic saboteurs.  Additionally, the Exercise was designed to enable the Command assess units pre-planned responses and states of readiness.  The scenarios were set against the prevailing threats within the Eastern Naval Command Area of Responsibility to enhance the capacity/preparedness of  own personnel to curb the activities of criminal elements and other undesirable miscreants that threaten the safety and security of lives and property in Nigeria.



EXERCISE YANGHA MI was Command activated EX conducted between 3 – 6 Sep 19. The main objective of the Ex was to consolidate on the gain of OP CALM WATER, OP SWIFT RESPONSE and assess the op readiness of ships of the Eastern Fleet. Seven ships, one helicopter and 18 gunboats participated in the exercise. During the Ex, vessels engaged in various exercises at designated Ex Areas and the Ex entailed SAR, COMMEX, VBSS and Fleet manoeuvres as well as testing the practical skills of personnel in tackling maritime threat. Among the practical exercises conducted by personnel include: Anti-Piracy, Anti-Bunkering, Fleet Manouvres, SAR, Man-Over-Board Drill, Fire Fighting Drill and Gunnex amongst other.  The Ex had in attendance representatives/observers from NHQ, NDAC, sister Services and other MDAs. The Ex was deactivated on 061830 Sep 19.

Before the conduct of EXERCISE ANI-OFORIFORI in November 2018, the Command carried out a SIMEX, EXERCISE SULU INO meaning “flog thieves” in Andoni Language, from 27 – 31 Aug 18 at the Armed Forces Simulation Centre (AFSC) Jaji. This SIMEX was in preparation for the just concluded ENC 2018 Sea Exercise code named EXERCISE ANI-OFORIFORI meaning “Chase Thieves” in Kalabari Language, which held from 16 – 23 Nov 18. Five NN ships, namely NNS CENTENARY, OKPABANA, BURUTU, ANDONI and IBUSA as well as operations bases under the Command took part in the exercise spanning the expanse of the nation’s maritime environment within the Command’s AOR. The objective of the Exercise was to assess the operational readiness of Eastern fleet and operational bases as well as test the practical skills and prowess of personnel serving under the ENC in their ability to tackle prevailing maritime crimes threats within the Command’s AOR. Notably, several manoeuvres and drills like manoverboard, abandon ship, tactical communications exercise (Flashing and Seamaphore), VBSS and Gunnex were successfully carried out and hitch free.





The 2014 Nigerian Navy Small Arms Firing Competition took place at the 72 Special Forces Range, Makurdi Benue State on 14 – 17 October 2014. The event was participated by 6 commands including, Naval Headquarters, Western Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command, Central Naval Command, Naval Training Command and Logistics Command.

The Competition involved the use of 4 main weapons of General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), Sub-Machine Gun (SMG), Rifle (AK-47 for standardization) and Pistol in the Nigerian Navy inventory. At the end of the Competition, Naval Headquarters emerged Best Overall in all events while Logistics Command took the last position. Trophies and medals were awarded for Individual and Team events.

Present at the occasion were; The Governor of Benue State, his Deputy, Service Chiefs, Principal Staff Officers – NHQ, Flag Officers Commanding, Unit Commanders and Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command. Others include; Senior serving and retired senior officers, representatives of the Permanent Secretary – Ministry of Defence, the Inspector General of Police, Tor Tiv, Ochi Idoma and the Chairman Makurdi Local Government Area and a host of others


The 2014 Nigerian Navy Small Arms Firing Competition took place at the 72 Special Forces Range, Makurdi Benue State on 14 – 17 October 2014. The event was participated by 6 commands including, Naval Headquarters, Western Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command, Central Naval Command, Naval Training Command and Logistics Command.

TA major fleet evaluation exercise code-named Exercise Farauta, a Hausa word for hunting. This Exercise which lasted from 11 – 17 November 2012, is a quest in pursuance of the mandate of the president of Nigeria, to stamp out acts of illegality in the nation’s maritime domain.

The aim of the exercise was to intensify the ongoing naval operations in the Niger Delta region and pay emphasis on Bonny-Akassa-Escravos axis, an area which was notorious for crude oil theft. “The exercise enabled the NN to assess its operational capability with a view to identifying gaps and taking necessary measures to fill such gaps for enhanced operational readiness. The synergy of this effort ensured full mission accomplishment across the threat spectrum with specific emphasis to immediately end all criminal activities in the Niger Delta region.”

A total of eight ships, six gunboats and three helicopters including elements of the Nigerian Army and Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force took part in the exercise.

Speaking on the role of the Nigerian Army (NA) in the exercise, the Commander, 2 Brigade Port Harcourt, Brig-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said they were geared to launch assault against any acts of illegality. He said: “We are on board the ship as standby troops in case of any emergency. Per adventure we are required to, we will assault any illegal refinery or any criminal hideout discovered during the operation.” Also, the Command Operations Officer, Mobility Command of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Yenogoa, Bayelsa State, Air Commodore Joseph Adeleke, said the responsibility of NAF was purely surveillance-inclined. He said: “Our job is to carry out surveillance and give the navy feedback. We give them grid reference on the location of ships and then they will deploy their ships to that particular location.”

The ships involved were Nigerian Naval Ships (NNS) THUNDER, ZARIA, ANDONI, MAKURDI, BURUTU, OBULA, NWAMBA and KYANWA. Others are six gunboats, Augusta Helicopter 07, Augusta Helicopter 08, Augusta 08 and one Nigerian Air Force Maritime Patrol aircraft.

The Western Naval Command and Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy also conducted similar Exercises code-named EXERCISE ICHUNTA and EXERCISE NDIKARA respectively as a follow up to EXERCISE FARAUTA.



The Nigerian Navy intensified effort to rid the country of the various illegalities in the Nigerian maritime environment. Speaking to reporters in Onne on conclusion of the Eastern Naval Command Sea Exercise named NDIKARA, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Olufemi Ogunjimi, said that, the three day exercise which started on 14 December 2012 involved three ships, sixteen gunboats and one helicopter. He said that the objective of Exercise NDIKARA, which means “to dominate” in the Efik language, is to sustain the tempo achieved in the just concluded Chief of Naval Staff Fleet Evaluation Exercise which was held from 11 – 17 November, 2012. He said that the Exercise was aimed at increasing naval presence at sea in order to curb the activities of crude oil thieves, illegal bunkers, pirates and sea robbers. The Flag Officer Commanding added that the Exercise had further enabled him to evaluate the capabilities of participating ships, gunboats and helicopters as well as to sharpen the professional skills of his officers and ratings.

Admiral Ogunjimi commended the conduct of the officers and men that took part in the Exercise, which he described as a huge success. According to him, several vessels were interrogated in the course of the Exercise, thus sending clear messages to would be criminal elements that the Nigerian Navy is ready to check and curb their criminal activities.

Addressing the officers and men that took part in the Exercise, Admiral Ogunjimi commended them for displaying high professional conduct, noting that, most of the lapses observed during the Fleet Evaluation Exercise in November have been corrected in Exercise NDIKARA. He therefore advocated for the sustenance of the standard achieved. The Flag Officer Commanding reminded them that the Nigerian Navy always rewards professional competence and frowns at mediocre performance.

Some of the ships which took part in the Exercise included NNS THUNDER, NNS KYANWA and NNS BURUTU. During the Exercise, the ships patrolled from Calabar River in Cross River State to ten nautical miles off the Bonga Oil Field. The Exercise equally covered the numerous creeks and river estuaries in Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. Admiral Ogunjimi was onboard Nigerian Navy’s newly acquired Offshore Patrol Vessel, NNS THUNDER to supervise the conduct of the Exercise. According to him, other operational Commands of the Nigerian Navy will be conducting similar exercises subsequently. All the ships, gunboats and helicopter that participated in the Exercise have since safely returned to their respective bases.