The Nakura Niche For Navigating The Nigerian Navy

By Bala Ibrahim.

When the Nigerian Navy signed a contract with Nakura International Ltd, for the supply of 12 units of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, otherwise called UAVs, little did they know that the man behind the company, Alhaji Ahmed Nakura, has a very high passion for excellence and a niche for the pre-eminence of the Nigerian Navy in modern ways of reconnaissance as well as navigation. And indeed yesterday, 8th December 2023, history was made by the Nigerian Navy, as it commissioned the UAVs at the Ojo Naval base Lagos, to the applause of many serving and retired naval officers.

In his speech at the commissioning, the commandant of Naval Airbase Ojo, Navy town Lagos, Commodore Ega said and I quote, “We are gathered here today to celebrate a significant milestone in our Naval aviation capabilities. It is indeed an honour to stand before you on this historic occasion to midwife the commissioning ceremony of 12 CTS Ovation Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), into the Nigerian Navy Air operation. This occasion also provides me the opportunity to present the revised Local Operating Procedure as well as the Local Training Order for adoption. Before we proceed, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the CNS, Vice Admiral EI Ogalla, for procuring the UAVs, his magnanimous support to NN Air Arm and to the Base in particular. The commissioning of this UAV squadron represents a quantum leap in our naval operations. These advanced UAVs are force multipliers that will enhance the reconnaissance, surveillance, and maritime security capabilities of the NN fleet like never before. The UAVs would also complement the already existing helicopters by increasing our surveillance capabilities with enhanced real time Maritime pictures”.

Speaker after speaker, everyone registered appreciation for the quality of the drones and the speedy manner of executing the contract. According to a renown business man, Alhaji (Dr.) Usman Yahaya Kansila of the UYK conglomerate, a close friend and business associate of Alhaji Ahmed Nakura, the speed with which Nakura executed the contract, would surely make indigenous contractors proud, and shame critics, who think Nigerian contractors are always lacking in business rectitude. Also, the fact that the Nigerian Navy had issued the certificate of practical completion to the vendor, is another testimony to the Nakura niche for excellence, in his desire to see the pre-eminence of the Nigerian Navy in modern way of navigation. No doubt he said, the business profile of the company has received a giant boost, as such, we should give thumps up to Alhaji Ahmed Nakura for this wonderful feat.

Although the contract for the supply of the UAVs was given by his predecessor, the present Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogala, has the vision of wiping out all manner of sea crimes, through the use of technology in a way that would reduce human casualties, hence his resolve to continue with the project. It is in the pursuit of that vision, that he is giving support to indigenous entrepreneurs of merit like the Nakura International.

Experts say the use of drones in naval and submarine operations has become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a range of benefits for military personnel and operations. Drones are highly versatile, providing a cost-effective and reliable means of monitoring, reconnaissance and surveillance.

The chief of Naval staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogala was represented by Rear Admiral Z.S. Muhammad, who commented thus:

“These drones are expected to enhance one of our trinities of action, that is the surveillance leg of the trinity. Others are response and enforcement. These drones would be integrated into our existing maritime domain awareness infrastructure and would better enhance our real time reconnaissance and surveillance, so that the Nigerian Navy would continue in its effort to curtail maritime criminality that include crude oil theft, piracy and others. The acquisition of the drones came along with a training package, pilots have been trained on it, so also are Engineers, trained for the maintenance and the training would continue”

The CTS Ovation are precision drones that are equipped to locate and track enemy targets, which can then be targeted by artillery, missiles, or other weapons systems. They can also be used to assess the damage caused by these weapons, providing valuable information to military planners. This will help the Nigerian military reduce the incidence of accidental bombing to the barest minimum. Just last week, the people of Kaduna state were sent into mourning, pursuant to a miscalculated drone strike that killed scores of civilians celebrating a religious festival.