Nigeria welcomes Brazilian Navy Ship ‘Independencia’ as both countries strengthen ties for maritime security
Nigerian Navy’s Western Naval Command on Thursday received the Brazilian Navy Frigate Independencia, which is visiting Nigeria for a maritime interdiction mission code named ‘ GUNEX’ in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Nigerian Navy said the visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between Nigeria and Brazil as well as enhancing maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Speaking during the visit, Amb., Francisco Carlos Soares Lus, Consul General of the Consulate of Brazil in Lagos, who led the team to the Headquarters office of the Western Naval Command, Apapa Lagos, said the relationship between Brazil and Nigeria for the purpose of strengthening security in the Gulf of Guinea(GoG) was very crucial to ensuring safe navigation for merchant ships.
Describing the frigate as one of the prides of the Brazilian navy, the Consul General said the visit for the maritime interdiction was the first of its kind, while hoping it would continue as well.
His words: “The vessel is Brazilian Navy Ship INDEPENDENCIA, built in Brazil in 1979, one of the prides of the Brazilian navy. It is very important for them to be participating in the joint operation including Sao Tome &Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroun, Nigeria, Cape Verde in Brazil, to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, in order to check other international climes.
“I think this is very important. It is the first operation of its kind and I hope it won’t be the last; it is quite important for both navies to be working together. Nigeria and Brazil are respectively the most populous countries and big economies; Brazil in Latin America, and Nigeria in Africa.
“This is what we should do and do more often, and this will bring us closer together. Our relationship shows the reality that these two countries have so much in common and we should make the relationship look the same.”
On fighting piracy in the GoG, he said it was an important duty because in the end piracy raises the cost for everyone, especially the landlocked countries, as they pay with inflation because of the security for the cost of navigation.
The Consul General added that “Brazil and Nigeria share the Atlantic as a border, so having the border safe is important for everyone and I think no cost is too expensive to keep the Atlantic Ocean safe.”
On the Brazilian Ship team were Navy Captain Andre Martin Pereira, the Commander Task force; Commander Andre Felipe Rosa Franca de Carvalho, Commanding Officer Brazilian Navy Ship INDEPENDENCIA, among others.
Speaking earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, said the visit by the Brazilian Naval Ship was very much welcome as their collaboration would further provide security in the GoG.
Represented by the Chief Staff Officer, Rear Admiral Habila Zakaria, Gbassa said other foreign navies had also visited for similar collaborations for reason of security for the GoG.
“The Nigerian Navy has been receiving several ships of this kind from international navies, who have visited Nigeria. So, the visit of the Brazilian ship is one of those things that the Nigerian Navy has always desired, to have navies of other countries visit us and then we participate in exercises together; exercises that would ensure maritime security within our waters and by extension the GoG,” Admiral Gbassa said.
He also noted that the exercise of collaborating with navies of other countries is captured within the wider spectrum maritime security strategy undertaken by the Nigerian Navy.
“This is also captured in the Nigerian Navy total spectrum maritime strategy, which allows us to collaborate with other navies within the GoG.
“Of course the GoG itself is an area of interest for the Nigerian Navy, because we cannot allow maritime illegalities to thrive within these waters; it has a ripples effect on cost of items, particularly landlocked countries and in Nigeria as well.
“So by and large, the Navy has done so much to ensure that the maritime environment is protected against any form of illegalities.”
Personnel of both navies engaged in a novelty football match, which held at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, and the kick-off of the march was taken by former Super Eagles Stricker, Daniel Amokachi.