The Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy yesterday concluded the 2019 Small Arms Firing Exercise (SAFEX) for officers in the bid to improve competence of personnel in small arms handling, shooting skills, as well as enhancing operational efficiency.
The event held at the 192 Battalion Nigerian Army Shooting Range, Owode, Ogun State.
Speaking at the occasion, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) of the command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji said the exercise forms part of individual and group training packages which has over time, afforded the Navy the opportunity of identifying marksmen for lnter-Command and lnter-Service Competitions.
He said “history teaches us 2 profound and important lessons about marksmanship, the first is that it is an acquired skill only developed through practice and training”
“The second is that the battlefield is a very unforgiving classroom. Therefore, it is imperative for all to note that success and survival in real combat is dependent on hard work during exercises of this nature”
“Training exercises all over the world is conducted to correct weaknesses and sustain strength. ln achieving these objectives. training exercises will always be tough and physically challenging”
“This exercise therefore will not he an exception considering the processes you must have passed through right from the point of selection. 1 therefore enjoin you all to apply yourselves during this exercise” he said
Daji appreciated the Grand Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division for approving the Navy’s request to use the shooting range for the exercise, even as he thanked the GOC for hospitality granted his contingent
He added that the experience gained by officers from the firing exercise is expected to be handy in their future operations.
Also speaking, the special guest of honour at the occasion, GOC 81 Division, Major General J.O Irefin noted that complexities and fluid nature of contemporary security challenges has made it imperative for security agencies to not only synergize their efforts and capabilities towards attaining national security objectives but to also sharpen their skills in weapon handling.
He said it was against this backdrop that the Nigerian Navy and by extension. the Western Naval Command deemed it fit and a priority to organize the Small Arms Firing Exercise to enhance personnel marksmanship and weapon handling skill.
Irefin reiterated that Nigeria’s geography and economy both repose crucial maritime security roles upon the Nigerian Navy.
“Also, the complex, ambiguous, volatile and uncertain 21st Century environment has bestowed on the nation several security challenges which has stretched the Armed Forces in terms of manpower and equipment”
“To this end training and re-training is key to the attainment of successful operations” he said