Eighteen days after it conveyed military hardware and crew to Guinea Bissau on peace keeping mission, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) KADA, a Landing Ship Transport (LST), returned to Lagos harbour yesterday.
In its maiden international voyage, NNS KADA, commanded by Navy Captain Reginald Adoki, sailed on August 6, 2022 from Lagos for Guinea Bissau to disembark military hardware for the Nigerian Contingent in ECOWAS Stabilisation Support Mission in Guinea Bissau.
Given the upheaval in Guinea Bissau after the President of Guinea Bissau, President Umaro Sisoco Embalo escaped a coup attempt in February 2022, the Economic West Africa (ECOWAS) set up the Security Stabilisation Mission in Guinea Bissau (ESSMGB) with one-year renewable mandate to stabilise the country.
Troops of Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and Ivory Coast make up the ESSMGB and the respective nations have their contingent deployed to Guinea Bissau.
Essentially, the mandate of participating troops is three -pronged: to ensure the protection of the government of Guinea-Bissau; assist the Armed Forces of Guinea-Bissau to stabilise the country, as well as protect civilians.
At the Nigerian Navy Ship BEECROFT Jetty in Apapa, Lagos, to receive the vessel and crew, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, showered encomium on them.
Represented by the Chief of Naval Safety and Standards, Rear Admiral Perry Onwuzulike, the CNS reiterated that NNS KADA’S voyage to and from Guinea Bissau to Lagos was its first national assignment after she arrived from the United Arab Emirates on May 27, 2022.
He said one of the roles of the Nigerian Navy is strategic sealift which NNS KADA performed commendably to support the ECOWAS mandate in line with Nigerian’s foreign policy objectives.
He also emphasised that there is no doubt that the Nigerian Navy would continue to leverage the sealift capability as it seeks further collaboration with Sister services.
He said: “It is pertinent to state that Nigerian maintains a contingent in Guinea Bissau, hence the equipment NNS KADA took to Guinea Bissau was for the Nigerian Contingent”.
He further emphasised that NNS KADA successfully performed her mission and is now back home, just as he also commended the Ship’s Company and urged them to prepare and be on standby for her next mission as exigency of service would permit.
The senior Naval officers that accompanied the representative of the Chief of the Naval Staff to receive NNS KADA were Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command; Rear Admiral Monday Unurhiere, Flag Officer Commanding Naval Training Command; Rear Admiral Kohath Levi, representative of the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Doctrine Command; and Rear Admiral Emmanuel Beckley, Admiral Superintendent Naval Ordinance Deport.
Others are Rear Admiral Olusola Oluwagbire, Director of Operations Naval Headquarters; Rear Admiral Samson Bura, Fleet Commander Western Fleet and other senior officers of the Western Naval Command.
With a capacity to carry over 250 passengers including 32 crew members and 16 embarked Special Forces, NNS KADA is currently the largest LST in the whole of Africa, which is designed for a range of duties including amphibious operations, strategic transport of equipment and troops, disaster relief, medical evacuation and humanitarian assistance.
It also has a helicopter deck and significant space to carry troops and tanks for ground forces on special mission.