Gombe — Nigerian Navy yesterday said NNS ARADU and NNS NWAMBA sailed into the Rio de Janeiro Harbour in splendour at about 2 p.m. (Nigerian time yesterday), in readiness for the bi-centenary celebration in honour of Admiral Marquez Lisboa.
Director of Navy Information, Cpt. Henry Babalola, in a statement said Officers and Ratings of the Brazilian Navy and contingents from other foreign navies that arrived earlier warmly received the ships.
The two Commanding Officers later paid courtesy calls on the Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil, Mr Kayode Garrick and the Commando Districto Rio (Officer in Charge of the Rio Command).
The celebrations begin today with 12 Brazilian Navy ships and Warships from other foreign navies proceeding to anchorage.
At this position, President Lula of Brazil, assisted by heads of foreign navies including Nigeria's Vice Admiral Ganiyu Tunde Adekeye in a Brazilian Navy Training boat, will sail past the ships from Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, United States of America, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay for the International Fleet Review at Guanabara Bay.
Other activities include a cocktail party and ceremonial Sunset tomorrow.
Commanding Officers of the two Nigerian Ships, Captains Johnson Olutoyin and Dapo Afolabi, said their ships' companies are in very high spirits. The ships have been adequately prepared to ensure a successful Fleet Review. They will be opened to visitors, especially Nigerians living in Rio de Janeiro who are already walking tall for the honour done to them by the visiting ships.
Adekeye, accompanied by Navy Secretary, Commodore Ben Acholonu, Commodore Ogwu and Captain Joe Okojie, Director of Marine Services, departed Nigeria on Wednesday for Brazil to join Nigerian warships, and heads of Navies from 45 countries for the bi-centenary celebration.
"The presence of the Nigerian Navy ships in far away Brazil after 30 years according to Babalola, was in itself positive testimonies of the present leadership of the Nigerian Navy's resolve to reposition the force for improved performance and to translate some of the foreign policy objectives of the Yar'Adua administration into reality.
The two ships which left Nigeria August 3 from Lagos, had cross the hazardous Trans Atlantic voyage to Brazil for the bi-centenary celebrations of the Brazilian Navy, arriving the port city of Monrovia, Liberia August 11. It later left for Dakar, Senegal last week before departing for the final lap of the Trans Atlantic cruise with three other ships.