Nigeria has deployed its newly acquired Landing Ship Tank (LST) named the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) KADA to Guinea Bissau on an ECOWAS peacekeeping operation in that country.
It was learnt that the mission is part of Nigeria’s effort in strengthening and enhancing security in the West African Sub-region.
Speaking to journalists during the ceremonies to see the vessel off, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Yakubu Wambai, a Rear Admiral, talked on the expectations and importance of the operation, explaining that it is part of the constitutional responsibility of the navy in supporting peace-keeping operations in the sub-region.
He said: “The expectations are that first, this trip shows the synergy that has continued to be a hallmark of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
“The Role that the Nigerian Navy is playing today by NNS KADA in conveying military ware is one of the roles assigned to the Nigerian Navy constitutionally.
“By moving these equipment, we are supporting ECOWAS with the stabilisation backing that is established in Guinea Bissau.
“These equipment are needed by a contingent of Nigeria there. Hitherto, we would have moved these by international shipping. But, we have come of age that the Nigerian Navy can conduct this assignment as designed, as it ought to be and as we have been mandated constitutionally.
“So, the Chief of Defense Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Army Staff, and the Chief of Air Staff have taken all these into consideration. By and large as it is, we are going to showcase our capacity and competence while keeping peace in the sub-region.”
Wambai also spoke on how the operation would further highlight Nigeria’s contributions to peacekeeping missions in the Sub-region.
“Remember In 1990 when ECOMOG (Economic Community of West Africa Monitoring Group- a sub-regional peacekeeping force) started in Liberia, we did similar operation with NNS AMBE and NNS DAMISA – conveying equipment and personnel to help stabilise Liberia, and we did the same thing for Sierra Leone. We also did the same thing in Gambia about two to three years ago, and now Guinea Bissau.
“So, we continue to showcase our big brotherliness by assisting and coming to the aid of sister African countries whenever there is the need. Don’t forget, ECOWAS Standby Force is there and we are using that umbrella to continue to work, function and support peace and stability within the sub-region,” Wambai said.
Commanding Officer of NNS KADA, Reginald Adoki, earlier gave a brief on the preparedness of the ship, to the Flag Officer Commanding West.