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Resuscitate NNS Aradu for national security, Senate tells Presidency

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Resuscitate NNS Aradu for national security, Senate tells Presidency
Senate has urged the Presidency to take over the NNS Aradu as a presidential asset and resuscitate it for national security, safety and pride.
This was even as the upper legislative chamber resolved to convoke s roundtable of all stakeholders like the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA; Nigerian Maritime Administrator and Safety Agency, NIMASA,; Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPC; Nigerian Customs Service, NCS; and the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS with a view to facilitating the re-fitting and refurbishing of the NNS Aradu.
The Senate resolution was sequel to s motion, titled: “Urgent need to resuscitate the Nigerian Navy Flagship, NNS Aradu”, sponsored by Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East) and 14 other lawmakers during Wednesday’s plenary.
Presenting the motion, Senator Sekibo said that Nigeria presently has no flagship on her seas, lamenting that the country “had lost pride of her dreaded sea power among the African nations.”
He informed that NNS Aradu could be refitted either locally or internationally, or both to give 25 years extended life span or more.
Senator Sekibo said that the NNS Aradu is the equivalent of Air Force One in the Presidential Air fleets which has since been maintained and kept by the Presidency, pointing out that “when in its good shape, there was a Presidential cabinet in it and by convention cannot sail out without Presidential approval.”
The lawmaker, who noted that the facility “may require over $200 million (N82billion) at current exchange rate, while replacing same will require more than $700 million (N287 billion”, believed that Nigeria could re-fit the ailing ship and take over her place in the comity of Naval formations in Africa and the world generally.
Açcording to him, “the Nigerian Navy flagship, NNS Aradu, is one of the first of the MEKO 360 general purpose frigates built by one of the biggest ship builders in Germany and commissioned on February 22, 1982.”
Senator Sekibo further informed that it is the largest ship in the Nigerian Navy fleet with a length of 125.6 metres (412ft 1inc) and as a general purpose frigate, adding that it is an all-purpose fighting ship.
“Since the NNS Aradu entered the Nigerian Navy service, she has taken part in major Naval exercises, fleet reviews and diplomatic cruises. She played a prominent part in ‘Operation Seadog’ in 1985 and Operation Odim in 1987. She has also undertaken extensive diplomatic visits to countries like Gabon, Congo, Zaire, Equitorial Guinea and many European countries,” he stressed.
The lawmaker also stated that the facility had participated in joint exercise with visiting ships of German, Indian, French and the Brazilian Navies, adding that “in 1997, she sailed to Monrovia, Liberia where she participated in ECOMOG Operation for over six months and steamed back to Lagos with her engines despite losing one generator.”
He added that the NNS Aradu participated in the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Trafalgar in the UK in 2005 and embarked on the hazardous trans-Atlantic voyage in 2007 to participate in Brazil Bicentenary celebration.
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