The Senate on Wednesday, called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd.), to, as a matter of urgency, take over and resuscitate NNS ARADU, which is the largest ship on the fleet of the Nigerian Navy.
Federal Government would require the sum of $200m to either refit it or $700m to replace the Nigerian Navy Flagship ARADU that is presently grounded.
The red chamber also called for a stakeholders’ roundtable forum which would include, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigerian Customs and Excise, and the Nigerian Immigration Services.
The Senate said the forum would fashion out a funding regime to facilitate the refitting and refurbishing of the Navy flagship in servicing Nigeria’s maritime domain.
The upper chamber passed the resolution sequel to a motion considered at plenary.
The motion was sponsored by Senator George Sekibo (Rivers East), and co-sponsored by 14 other lawmakers.
Sekibo, 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.
He said NNS ARADU is also the largest ship in the Nigerian Navy fleet with a length of 125.6-metres (412 ft 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 the Nigerian Navy service, “she has taken part in major naval exercises, fleet reviews and diplomatic cruises.”
Sekibo said, “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;
“She participated in joint exercises with visiting ships of the German, Indian, French and the Brazilian navies.”
He recalled that in 1987, barely five years after the 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 further stated that in 1997, the ship 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.”