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Takeover Navy’s Largest Ship, Senate Tells Presidency

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The Senate has called on the Presidency to, as a matter of urgency, takeover and resuscitate the largest ship in the fleet of the Nigerian Navy, NNS ARADU.
This was just as it called for a roundtable of stakeholders such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety (NIMASA), Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), Nigerian Customs and Excise, and Nigerian Immigration Services to fashion out a funding regime to facilitate the refitting and refurbishing of the Navy flagship in servicing Nigeria’s maritime domain.
These formed resolutions reached sequel to a motion considered during plenary on Wednesday.
The motion was sponsored by Senator George Thompson Sekibo (Rivers East), and co-sponsored by 14 other lawmakers.
Sekibo, in his presentation, said that the Nigerian Navy flagship, NNS ARADU, is one of the first of the MEKO 360 general purpose frigates built by one of the biggest shipbuilders in Germany and commissioned on February 22, 1982.
According to him, NNS ARADU is the largest ship in the Nigerian Navy fleet with a length of 125.6-metres (412ft l inch) and as a general-purpose frigate.
He added that the capabilities of the Frigate ensured the Nigerian Navy continued to reach out to blue waters with the appropriate ships in terms of firepower, extended operational range and enhanced surveillance capability.
The lawmaker noted that since NNS ARADU entered 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 Odion in 1987.
“She has also undertaken extensive diplomatic visits to countries like Gabon, Congo, Zaire, Equatorial Guinea and many European countries;
“Aware that she participated in joint exercises with visiting ships of the German, Indian, French and the Brazilian navies”, Sekibo said.
He recalled that in 1987, barely five years after her commissioning, NNS ARADU ran aground twice and was involved in a major collision and underwent a significant local refit in 1991 at the Nigerian Navy Dockyard, Wilmot Point, Lagos.
Sekibo recalled 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 stated further that 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.
The lawmaker lamented that in 1994, NNS ARADU experienced degradation of machinery and equipment post refit trials and was assessed as Beyond Economical Repair in 1995.
According to him, the flagship while berthed in Naval Dockyard, experienced rough weather and severe turbulence between May 31 to June 2, 2014, which caused the already weakened ship serious damage that resulted in flooding and near sinking.
He noted that the other seven ships of same category in the world built about the same time are still energetically sea worthy and in operation due to proper maintenance.
“The misfortune of ARADU was the transfer of the ship from the Presidency to the Nigerian Navy for maintenance which could not afford to keep it afloat properly due to the envelope budget system”, Sekibo said.
He observed that NNS ARADU is the equivalent of Air Force One in the Presidential air fleets which has since been maintained and kept by the Presidency.
The lawmaker expressed concern that Nigeria has no flagship on her seas today and had lost her pride of her dreaded sea power among the African nations.
He noted that NNS ARADU can be refitted either locally or internationally or both to give her 25 years extended life span or more.
He disclosed that refitting NNS ARADU may require over $200million (N82billion) at current exchange rate, while replacing same will require more than $700million (2-287, 000, 000, 000.00) only.
He expressed optimism on Nigeria’s ability to refit the ailing ship to take her place in the comity of naval formations in Africa and the world.

By: Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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2023: I’m Only PDP Presidential Aspirant To Defeat APC–Wike

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Rivers State Governor and leading presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Nyesom Wike,has said that he remained the only PDP aspirant that could win election against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wike, in company of some PDP chieftains, made this remark when he met national delegates of the Lagos chapter of PDP in Ikeja, last Saturday.
The aspirant, who noted that he was not running to be vice president to anybody, said that if elected, peace, security of lives and property would be prioritised to strengthen the nation’s sustainable infrastructure, food security, prosperity and economic turnaround.
He said the nation needed a strong and courageous leader like him now, adding that with a courageous leader, difficult decisions would be taken to tackle the nation’s challenges.
“The issue now is who can win election for PDP. Who has the capacity to face the APC? Who will win election for PDP? That is me here.
“I will face APC squarely. If you give me this ticket on May 28 and May 29, go home and sleep with your two eyes closed,” Wike said.
The governor said that PDP must do everything possible not to lose the 2023 presidential election.
“If we lose the presidential election in 2023, we can as well forget PDP.
“I have been tested in terms of performance. Mine is ‘talk and do’,” he added.
Wike, who promised to replicate his outstanding performance in Rivers State across Nigeria, said that he would provide a leadership every Nigerian would be proud of, home and abroad.
The aspirant pleaded with the Lagos delegates and leaders to be united and work for his emergence at the primaries.
“I know APC very well, allow me to face them. I am begging you, delegates, allow me. Support me to take the power from APC and bring back to PDP.
“I depend on the South-West, if the South-West gives me the votes, I have won the election. Donate all your votes to me,” he said.”
The PDP chieftain lamented that some party leaders aspiring to contest for PDP presidential ticket now, were the ones that threw the former ruling party into being opposition when they left the party in 2015.
Wike, who noted that he had been with PDP since 1998, said: “I will never leave this party. Whatever I am today, by the grace of God, God used PDP for me”.
He, however, said that he would never leave PDP even if he did not win the primaries, pledging to support whoever won.
The governor, who appealed to the Lagos PDP to end all infighting and division, said that if the party was not united, it would not win in the state.
In his remark, former Governor of Gombe State, Dr Ibrahim Dankwambo, who led Wike’s delegation, described the presidential aspirant as a fearless and courageous leader, with strong capacity to drive Nigeria forward.

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Army Bombs B’Haram Commander’s Convoy, Kills Scores, Destroys Gun Trucks

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Troops of the Nigerian Army under the auspices of Operation Hadin Kai have bombed a convoy of a Commander of Boko Haram in Sambisa forest, Abubakar Sarki, killing scores of terrorists who were with him.
Sources said the offensive was coordinated by the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Nigerian Army and Commander Sector 1 North East Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), Maj-Gen Waidi Shaibu on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Yuwe location, within the Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.
The Army was said to have deployed a massive artillery gun after sighting eight moving convoys conveying Abubakar Sarki and unconfirmed numbers of fighters in devastating hits.
The source said that based on intelligence information, Abubakar Sarki and his team were heading toward Abu-Ubaida’s camp to engage its rival fighters from the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP), in a battle of supremacy.
Counter Intelligence expert with knowledge of terrorists activities in Lake Chad, Zagazola Makama confirmed the artillery bombing of the BH Commander’s convoy.
“A ground assessment confirmed that three guntrucks with all its occupants were completely destroyed, while the remaining five vehicles, including Abubakar Sarki escaped” the source said.
The source added that the terrorists, however, aborted the mission and evacuated the dead and wounded fighters towards the axis between Pulka and Banki.
The sources said that the troops were mandated to go after the fleeing terrorists and eliminate them completely.
The infighting between the two terrorists groups had intensified with the ISWAP hunting Boko Haram during the day time while the Boko Haram are coordinating reprisal attacks at night because of their knowledge of the terrain.

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NDDC Fund, Account For Alleged N700b, Inaugurate Board, Monarch Tasks FG

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Barely three days after some ministers resigned, including Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, the Paramount Ruler of Idjerhe Kingdom of Delta State, King Obukowho Monday Whiskey, yesterday, called for urgent inauguration of the already screened and confirmed board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) just as he called on the Federal Government to the over N700billion he alleged has been allocated to investigate the commission in the last three years.
He said these steps by the government would help resuscitate the agency and rekindle hope of the people whose regional resources, he alleged, were criminally plundered by the leadership of Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
In a press statement personally issued by the monarch and made available to journalists in Benin City, Whiskey said, “Having voluntarily resigned as Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, our beloved son, Obong Godswill Obot Akpabio, should come out clean to explain to fellow Niger Deltans the whereabouts of the three years running budgetary allocations of the NDDC which inside sources claimed were more than N700billion.
“For presiding over the ongoing illegality in NDDC, Akpabio is not fit to be president.
“The Federal Government and Akpabio, who held the region perpetually captive and denied her of her developmental agenda because of an inglorious forensic audit that never brought out anything should now explain to our people of our collective regional wealth.
“The father of the nation, Mr. President must have seen now that those he entrusted with the developmental agenda of the oil and gas bearing communities of Nigeria had their own nefarious intentions to swindle and cause more havoc and deny the people their collective dreams of development.
“It is instructive to note, Mr. President, that three options are still available to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The first being the immediate inauguration of the screened and confirmed board of the NDDC under the Chairmanship of Dr. Pius Egberavwe Odubu, and Olorogun Bernard Okumagba as managing director. Secondly, immediate dissolution of the illegally constituted sole administrator that is alien to the NDDC Act 2000, and thirdly, every of the allocation to the NDDC from 2019 to 2022 except for those used for staff salaries and sundry expenses, every other monies of the over N700billion be recovered from whoever were part of the Macabre dance of shame in the past four years.”
The traditional ruler stressed that the inauguration of the already screened and confirmed board would rekindle hope and restore the Federal Government’s integrity before Nigerians and the international community.

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