Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) KADA has embarked on a voyage to Guinea Bissau on Saturday 6 August 2022, as part of the strategic sealift role of the Nigerian Navy. The voyage is her first national assignment since she arrived Nigeria from the United Arab Emirates on 27 May 2022.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, who was represented by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai disclosed onboard the new Landing Ship Transport that, “as part of the efforts of Nigeria in strengthening and enhancing security in the West African Sub-Region, NNS KADA has embarked military wares and logistics for the Nigerian Contingent (NIGCON) being part of the ECOWAS Stabilization Support Mission in Guinea Bissau.”
He reiterated that the history of peace keeping in Africa and beyond cannot be written without mentioning the commitment and sacrifices of Nigeria. Since independence in 1960, Nigeria’s commitment has grown to be widely recognized in the international community as an unrelenting advocate of global peace, hence it is crucial for her continual involvement in peace keeping missions in Africa and beyond.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command recalled that an ECOWAS contingent was deployed to Guinea Bissau under the auspices of the ECOWAS Stabilization Support Force after the President of Guinea Bissau, President Umaro Sisoco Embalo escaped a coup attempt in February 2022.
Troops of Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast make up the ECOWAS Stabilization Support Mission in Guinea Bissau with one-year renewable mandate to stabilize the country. NNS KADA is therefore embarking on the voyage to deliver the outstanding logistics and stores of the NIGCON.
“The expectations are that first, this journey demonstrates the synergy that has persisted to be a distinguishing feature of the Nigerian Armed Forces,” he added.
By this effort, the capability of the new ship will be brought to bear in support of the ECOWAS mandate and in line with Nigeria’s Foreign Policy objective which focuses on Africa. It was added that the decommissioned NNS AMBE and OFIOM (both Landing Ship Tanks) had played similar roles before and during the ECOMOG operations in the 1980s and 1990s.
Furthermore, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command buttressed that for any peace keeping operation involving Nigeria, the Nigerian Navy plays general and specific roles. These roles include sea lifting of troops and logistics, Sea Surveillance, Blockade, Gun Fire Support, Control of Shipping and Sea Lane of Communication. Others are Search and Rescue Mission, policing, conveying of relief materials amongst others.
Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai while addressing the Ship’s Company onboard NNS KADA charged them to adhere to integrity, professionalism and teamwork in all ramifications during the mission.
He also used the opportunity to urge the officers and men to respect the religious and cultural sensitivity of the Host Nation while discharging their duties in line with utmost professionalism.
Therefore, all of these factors have been taken into account by the Chief of Defense Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, and the Chief of Air Staff. Generally speaking, we will demonstrate our ability and competence while preserving peace in the sub-region.
The operation would further emphasize Nigeria’s commitment to peacekeeping missions in the Sub-region, according to Admiral Wambai.
Therefore, we continue to demonstrate our big brotherliness by helping and assisting sister African countries whenever necessary. Remember that the ECOWAS Standby Force is there, and we are utilising that protection to carry on with our work, function, and maintain peace and stability within the sub-region, added Admiral Wambai.
On his part, the Commanding Officer NNS KADA, Navy Captain Reginald Adoki, prior to the departure of the ship, showed appreciation to the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, for his support and enabling ambiance for the Ship’s company to embark on the voyage in support of the NIGCON of the ECOWAS Stabilization Support Mission in Guinea Bissau.
In Oriental News findings, the Damen Shipbuilding facility in the United Arab Emirate officially handed over NNS KADA, a Landing Ship Tank, to the Nigerian Navy on March 30, 2022.
When the Navy began its fleet recapitalization in May 2018, Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding was given the contract for the ship.
The SSMGB has a one-year renewable mandate and is made up of roughly 600 troops from Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau, which has a population of about 2 million, has experienced four coups d’état, the most recent of which, in 2012, led to the removal of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior.
Following this coup, ECOWAS dispatched 1,000 soldiers and police officers, but they left the country in September 2021 after their mandate had expired.
Recall that on February 1, 2022, when the President of Guinea-Bissau narrowly averted a coup d’état attempt that left 11 people dead, the West African Nation was on the verge of civil war.
The senior Naval officers that accompanied the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command to bid NNS KADA farewell to Guinea Bissau were, Rear Admiral Hamza Kaoje, the Chief Staff Officer, Headquarters Western Naval Command and Rear Admiral Samson Bura, the Fleet Commander Western Fleet.
Others are commodores Bassey Duke, Gideon Kachim, Victor Choji and other Principal Staff Officers of the Headquarters Western Naval Command.