The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo has said that the induction of NNS KADA into the Nigerian Navy fleet would further enhance its deterrence capability against maritime crimes and illegalities within the nation’s maritime domain and Gulf of Guinea.
The CNS stated this during the reception ceremony in honour of NNS KADA and her crew for the successful completion of the ship’s maiden voyage from the United Arab Emirates.
“I wish to most respectfully extend our special thanks and profound gratitude to His Excellency the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, for granting necessary approvals for the acquisition of this man-of-war as well as provision of required logistics for the homebound trip.
“About a year ago, precisely on 17 May 2021, we were gathered here to welcome our State-of-the-art Hydrographic Survey vessel – NNS LANA from France.
“A year later, sequel to a colourful Change of Flag Ceremony on 1 April 2022 at Sharjah, in United Arab Emirates, I in company of very senior dignitaries and government officials bided NNS KADA farewell on her homebound voyage.
“After riding on waves at sea for 56 days and covering a distance of 8,414.34 nautical miles, we are here to say welcome. I am indeed grateful to the Almighty God for granting the ship and crew safe passage.
“This reception ceremony therefore elates my heart and radiates joy as well as feeling of accomplishment just as every member of the ships’ company including their family members and loved ones feels”
“NNS KADA’s maiden voyage afforded the ship’s company opportunity to pay port calls in 5 countries, which include Port Duqm in Oman, Port Mombasa in Kenya and Port Cape Town in South Africa. Others are Port Luanda in Angola and Port Gentil in Gabon.
“These port calls were in line with Nigerian Navy’s diplomatic role, an opportunity to further consolidate the Nation’s relations with friendly littoral states and allies. I wish to commend the enthusiasm and professionalism exhibited by the Commanding Officer and his ships company throughout the voyage.
“This commendable conduct aligns with the Nigerian Navy core values of Professionalism, Integrity and Team work and I enjoin the ship’s crew to keep it up.
“Furthermore, the vessel will serve as a force multiplier to project power, respond to humanitarian crises and convey relief materials in support of non-kinetic operations within the region and beyond. NNS KADA will no doubt boost the Nigerian Navy’s capability in support of ECOWAS mandate.
“On this note, I must reaffirm the Nigerian Navy’s unalloyed loyalty to the Government and good people of our dear country. I also wish to extend my profound appreciation to spouses and family members of the crew of NNS KADA, who have kept the home front running in the absence of these indefatigable sailors.” he said.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral YB Wambai during the reception said the Nigerian Navy in discharging its constitutional role faces numerous challenges such as crude oil theft, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, smuggling, arms proliferation, sea robbery and piracy amongst others.
“As a leading Navy in the African Continent, the Nigerian Navy strives to ensure that these challenges are mitigated to ensure optimal performance.
“To this end the Nigerian Navy formulated a Strategic Plan that was to enhance optimal performance in light of 21 Century trends. One of the pillars of the Strategised Plan was Fleet Renewal that was to replace the aging Fleet in the Nigerian Navy.
“It would be recalled that on the 17 of May 2021 the Nigerian Navy welcomed NNS LANA a Hydrographic specialised vessel.
“One year afterwards, we are again gathered to receive another specialised vessel NNS KADA a Landing Ship Tank into Nigerian Navy inventory.
“The Western Naval Command is indeed grateful for this rare privilege and honour. It is worthy to state that with the acquisition of Nigerian Navy Ship KADA, Nigerian Navy is better positioned to enhance its operations, especially as it concerns sea lift operations and presence at sea, thus achieving the Nigerian Navy Mandate.
“I have to state here that the Nigerian Navy Ship KADA is a replacement of the decommissioned Landing Ship Tanks Nigerian Navy Ship AMBE/OFIOM.
“I wish to assure you that the induction of Nigerian Navy Ship KADA into service would ensure enhanced operations and thus better security and safety of the maritime space.
“At this junction let me commend the Ships’ Company of Nigerian Navy Ship KADA for a job well done and also to appreciate the families of the personnel who made all the sacrifices to persevere during the absence of their spouses and parents.” he said.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command Lagos, further commended the Chief of the Naval Staff for what he described as a strong leadership that ensured the day was a reality.
Also speaking is Former Chief of Naval Staff, retired Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba also said that what is important is that the government understand the in point of sustaining this credible platform.
“This is currently the biggest Landing Ship Tank (LST) in the whole Africa. Having gone round the ship, I came to terms with the technicality and equipment that were on board.
“It is important to consider the requirement for sustainability of this platform. our experiences in the past have shown that if we do not put the resources, global best practices demand that at least 40 percent of the cost of this ship should be made available for yearly maintenance and that has to be appropriated by the National Assembly otherwise we would have a challenge in terms of sustaining and maintaining this very laudable platform.
“The capability of this ship has been clearly enunciated by the CNS but what is important is that we must consider buying a second one to support this and ensure that we provide the Navy with the required logistics to drive and ensure that this vessel is available at demand.
“Another area of importance is the consumption of the AGO to drive the ship. the ship requires about 360,000 litres of AGO to sail for about two weeks. So this are the critical areas of need that I will request the government to consider and ensure that they provide those enablers to allow the Navy discharge it’s mandate as it should.” he said.