By Evelyn Usman
Lagos—For the first time in the 108 years existence of the Royal Canadian Navy, two of its warships: HMCS Summerside and HMCS kingston, visited Nigeria weekend, with a view to establishing a relationship that will enhance the Nigerian Navy’s efficiency in the Gulf of Guinea.
The warships, HMCS Kingston and HMCS Summerside, which are first class coastal defence vessels of the Royal Canadian Navy, have served in the Canadian Forces since 1996 and 1999 respectively. They have 75 crew members led by the Commander, Royal Canadian Navy , Vice Adm. Ron Llyod.
Speaking during a visit to the Flag Officer, Commanding Western Naval Command , FOC, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, Llyod stated that the visit would provide an opportunity for the two navies to synergise.
He further stated that during the one -week stay in Nigeria, the warships would participate in Obagame Express, a maritime exercise conducted by the United States of America Forces, that is designed to enhance cooperation among participating nations, in order to improve maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Llod said: “This visit is aimed at fostering the existing bilateral relationships and to boost capacity of military personnel in Nigeria. We are looking into supporting our excellency (High Commissioner) with respect to Canadian relationship in Nigeria and we are proud to have two Canadian ships: HMCS Summer Side and HMCS Kingston that will operate in the exercise.”
Also in his remark, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Christopher Thornley reinstated his country’s commitment to work with the Nigerian Navy as part of the bilateral relationship.
He said: “ “Our bilateral relationship is going on and this is a step in the right direction to see military cooperation as part of multilateral exercise Operation Obagame .”
Responding, an elated FOC, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah who described the visit as a privilege since it was the first time , said “ Canadian Royal Navy came into existence since 1910 and has participated in the first , second world wars and other wars , including United Nations Peace Keeping wars. You have the experience and with your strategic location at the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic ocean, we hope to tap from your wealth of experience.
“ Since we have many of our training institutions, together, we will fashion out what to do in terms of exchanging our military to train in both countries “, Abbah stated.