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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Obanikoro Receives US Naval Vessel For Nigeria

Nigeria's deputy minister of Defense, Musiliu Obanikoro
By Saharareporters, New York

The United States navy on Wednesday officially transferred ownership of its former Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin to the Nigeria navy, where it will now be known as the NNS Okpabana (Thunder).

A crowd of Nigerian navy officers, United States coast guardsmen and visitors gathered on a pier at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in North Charleston, United States, for the ceremony.  Taps played hauntingly in the background as the U.S. flag was lowered and replaced by that of Nigeria.

In a speech, Coast Guard Rear Admiral Bruce Baffer extolled the strength of the Gallatin, which was built in a Louisiana shipyard and commissioned in 1969. It aided in the seizure of thousands of pounds of narcotics from international waters and assisted in search and rescue missions, disaster relief and Homeland Security patrols, Baffer said.

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro who received the vessel on behalf of Nigeria, thanked the Coast Guard for their consistent support. He said the additional vessel will strengthen Nigeria's ability to combat terrorism and illegal activity.

"I am glad to know that American support has greatly enhanced the capacity of the Nigerian navy," he said.

The ceremony concluded as members of the Nigerian navy filed onto the vessel, taking command of the ship.

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