When the Nigerian Navy (NN) concluded the Basic Operating Capability (BOC), it was not only to cover all facets of security threats facing the nation today but to also strengthen the existing military cooperation between the NN and the Ghana Navy (GN).

After 24 weeks intensive training, the NN certified 19 of its operatives and those of the GN fit for the elite squad, Special Boats Services (SBS). Among the latest 19 graduates were nine Ghanaians and 10 Nigerians.

The 19 were among 44 participants of the BOC course 16, which featured rigorous and dangerous tasks in counter-terrorism, counterinsurgency, hostage rescue, riverine/backwaters, anti-piracy, sabotage/enemy infiltration operations.

Specifically, the operatives comprising both commissioned and non-commissioned officers learned survival techniques both in underwater, above water and ground operations to enable them individually take on, overpower and neutralise scores of enemy forces.

Twenty-five other participants who did not succeed in all the tasks were withdrawn and returned to their respective naval units/formations in Nigeria and Ghana to continue with routine duties.

Meanwhile, the GN operatives benefitted in similar training from the NN in 2017 which was held at the Joint Maritime Security Training Centre (JMSTC), Navy Town, Ojo.

At the graduation ceremony, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC) Rear Admiral Kamarudeen Lawal, said the SBS training aimed at building capacity to deal decisively with asymmetric threats and confront emergency situations to ensure security within the maritime domain and ashore.

He described as remarkable, the skills displayed by the graduates, adding that he was confident the skills gained would help both countries confront current and emerging security situations.

He said: “I am very impressed with what I saw today. This personnel has undergone 24 weeks of training, covering all facets of threats which are facing us today. At the times we found ourselves, we think that we even need more.

“So I want to congratulate the commandant of the school for turning up his personnel and I hope that they would continue to train more so that they would be able to bring peace for all of us to do our work.

“If I may recall, 44 of you were selected to participate in this training and today 19 of you have proved your mettle and have demonstrated that you have the mental tenacity, physical toughness and the will consistent with Special Operations Forces around the world.”

According to Lawal, the graduates received one of the best standards of training which they have complemented by their strong desires to imbibe the same.

He encouraged them to sustain the attitude and take it into the field in order to ensure that their navies fight effectively and to justify the investment made on them.

“Also, take advantage of all you have learned here and bring it to bear when the need arises. The confidence reposed in you must not be taken for granted, especially at this time that our national aspirations are being threatened by numerous security, economic and social challenges,” he said.

The FOC also expressed gratitude to the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, for the investment in infrastructure, teaching aids, and continuous financial support to the SBS to achieve its mandate, which he said have enabled the service to contribute more to training within tri-service and other friendly countries for the enhancement of security and wellbeing of the West African region.

Earlier, the Commander SBS, Commodore Noel Madugu, said much was expected from the new inductees, advising them to utilize all the knowledge and experiences gained during the training to surmount security challenges.

He said: “Ghana and Nigeria are two countries that have been operating closely. We have had various exercises and training with Ghanaian officers. In most of our training institutions, we have Ghanaian officers teaching, and we also have Nigerians who are teaching in Ghana.

“So we have come a long way and I believe this is just a way to further strengthen our relationship.”

According to him, the overall objective of the BOC is to train officers and ratings of the Nigerian Navy and other allied nations to be able to operate in small organized units that are equipped with specialized skills required to operate in a multidimensional threat environment.

Addressing the personnel, Madugu said: “No doubt, it has been a challenging period but I am sure you have been well equipped with skills required to succeed in today’s dynamic battlespace where the adversary is equally well prepared.

“However, I am confident that you would rise to the occasion when the need arises. To the SBS Training Team, I say well done for your contribution to the success of this course and for making BOC 16 the warriors that they are today.

“Without your commitment, dedication, and hard work, BOC 16 warriors would not have been what they are.”