History will be made tomorrow when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan commissions the first locally made warship, NNS ANDONI, constructed by Nigerian Navy engineers.
The commissioning ceremony will take place at the Nigerian Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The 31m Nigerian Navy Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) was conceived as a research and development project by Vice Admiral GTA Adekeye and Rear Admiral GJ Jonah who were then Chief of the Naval Staff and Chief of Naval Engineering respectively.
The vessel, which was to be designed and built locally, was patterned after the river town class patrol craft in the Nigerian Navy which include NNS YOLA and NNS BRASS, albeit with several modifications as decided by the design team.
The keel of the SDB was laid at the Nigerian Naval Dockyard by the then Chief of the Naval Staff in December 2007 while full construction commenced in January 2008.
Between January 2008 and April 2009, the structural frames and shell plating of the hull and superstructure were completed while the main propulsion and power generation plants were delivered. Thereafter, the project was suspended due to funding delays until the incumbent Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral OS Ibrahim revived the project by approving funds for its completion.
This is in furtherance to the remark by the president at the commissioning of NNPC/MPN Satellite Field Development Project Platforms in Lagos on 17 March 2012 when he said: “Our government will continue to support genuine efforts to uplift the country’s economy through Nigerian Content Development and we will continue to encourage the investors to encourage the development of local content.”
The vessel was successfully completed through tenacity, ingenious innovation as well as sincere and focused leadership, despite the previously highlighted challenges.
It is expected that this leap forward in capacity at the Nigerian Naval Dockyard would herald a future of sustained research and development in the Nigerian Navy towards achieving national transformation.