By Kenechukwu Obiajuru, Yenagoa
The joint military force deployed to protect oil installations in the Niger Delta, at the weekend, concluded an arms handling training to enhance the precision of troops in operations. The month-long shooting and marksmanship exercise came to a climax with an inter sector skills-at-arms competition amongst the four sectors of the force based in the region.
Sector 3, of the Joint Task Force in Niger Delta christened, Operation Delta Safe won the gold trophy, Sector 2 clinched silver trophy while Sector 1 went home with the bronze trophy.
Speaking at the event Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa who was the special guest reiterated that the performance of the military depended largely on their skill which is enhanced by training.
Dickson who spoke though his deputy Rear Adm. John Jonah, (Rtd) appealed for the sustenance of the culture of periodic training of the armed forces to help them overcome the security challenges facing the country. He noted that the Niger Delta environment, which consists of creeks, swamps, rivers with settlements along the Atlantic coastline, was a very difficult terrain for military operations.
He, however, noted that the challenging terrain was a blessing in disguise as it provided suitable training environment for military training.
The commander of the joint force, Rear Adm. Suleiman Apochi, in his opening remarks, noted that the training exercise was designed to enhance the combat readiness of the troops in view of the enormous risks they face. “The need for training cannot be over emphasised, more so due to the composition of the force with personnel across the services of the military.
“It is also to make the personnel from different services work as a team. The training is to make the personnel more proficient and increase their precision to defend themselves when under attack and to defend the citizens and oil infrastructure.
“The skills-at-arms contest was just an icing on the cake aimed at building team spirit and understanding amongst personnel from various services who are perhaps training together after their deployments to the joint force,” Apochi stated.
Heads of the various military formations operating in Bayelsa state graced the occasion which held at the Nigerian Army Shooting Range, Elele Barracks in Rivers state.