Nigeria welcomes Brazilian Navy frigate ‘UNIAO’ to further ties for maritime security
The Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Friday, welcomed the Brazilian Navy frigate ‘UNIAO’ which is visiting Nigeria for a maritime interdiction mission designated ‘GUNEX’ in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Brazilian Navy frigate ‘Independencia’ had first visited Nigeria on a similar mission in September 2021.
The Nigerian Navy said the visit aims at strengthening relations between Nigeria and Brazil, as well as enhancing maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, to ensure safe navigation for merchant ships.
Speaking on the purpose of their mission, Amb., Francisco Carlos Soares Luz, the Consul General of the Consulate of Brazil in Lagos, who led the team on the visit to the Headquarters office of the Western naval Command, Apapa, said the Brazilian frigate is in Nigeria for joint exercises to maintain security in the Gulf of Guinea(GoG).
“This visit is for the Brazilian frigate to participate in the second ‘Gunex’ operation to keep security in the Gulf of Guinea. This is quite important for Brazil because Brazil and Nigeria share the same ocean. Just across the body of water that we call the Atlantic.
“We are neighbours and we have to keep the neighbourhood safe. This is the second time of participating. And I hope this will become an annual event and we keep on cooperating in the coming years.
“We have been cooperating since we recognised Nigeria’s independence since in the ‘60s and the military component was very strong in the beginning, and now what is happening is a resumption of the good relations that we had in the past.
“We tried more to reopen our defence attaché office in Abuja and this is helping in training, participating in joint operations. This is quite helpful and Brazilians have started coming to Nigeria for trainings,” Ambassador Soares Luz said.
Speaking also, the Task Force Commander, Capt. Leta Basil, said the Frigate, the helicopter and other special group operation are in Nigeria to collaborate in order to have a safer maritime space.
“We have our frigate here, our helicopter and our special group operation. We are here to work with African people. And, we have been to other countries before coming here. We have been doing exercises with the people, so that we can improve our exercise and our force. We are doing some boarding exercises, manoeuvrings and helicopter operations,” Capt. Basil said.
Other members of the team are Commander Sandir, Commanding Officer Brazilian Naval Ship UNIAO, and Col Amyr DOS Santos, Defence Attaché Brazil to Nigeria.
Speaking on the importance of the cooperation in boosting the expertise of the Nigerian navy, the Flag Officer Commanding Western naval Command, Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai, said sharing experiences and know-how would help improve operations aimed at sustaining a safe maritime domain.
He said: “The navies internationally, have a standard role, which is diplomacy; the navy is the only military that goes to another country’s military with its hardware and is received warmly.
“So, the visit is not just to the Western Naval Command, but to Nigeria as a whole. Militarily, we are receiving them in continuation of our collaboration in operation to ensuring that we have safe waters.
“Like the Consular General stated, we share a common body of water, the Atlantic; we are to the east, while they are to the west. So, it is a commonality for all of us.
“If anything goes wrong here, it affects them. Therefore, they are coming here, just as they were here last year. They are here now with another ship to continue the synergy that we have had since the time of independence. Security involves everybody.”