NIMASA seeks military-led patrol of maritime domain
• Laments increase in piracy
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has called for a military led patrol of the maritime domain as part of measure to curb the rising incidence of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to Peterside, the rising issue of piracy is affecting the economic fortunes of the country, noting that there is need for the military to initiate a joint patrol of the maritime domain “with a view to decisively curbing this trend”.
Speaking during a working visit to the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai at the Defence Head Quarters in Abuja, Peterside commended the patriotic role of the military.
The DG, who addressed the Service Chiefs separately, acknowledged the gallantry of officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the fight against insurgency.
He explained that maritime security is a national and international obligation of all stakeholders, adding that the Nigerian Navy should continue with the “good job of fighting piracy which they have been doing”.
He also assured the CNS of NIMASA’s resolve to strengthen the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Navy in order to eradicate piracy and other criminal activities on Nigerian waters.
Responding, Vice Admiral Ete-Ibas congratulated Dr. Peterside on his appointment as NIMASA DG and pledged the support of the Nigeria Navy to continue to partner the Agency in maintaining safety and security on Nigerian waters.
The CNS stated that as a strategy to nip the rising cases of piracy, the Nigerian Navy has deployed boat houses at the entry points of the creeks and is in the process of inaugurating a surveillance system being developed by the Office of the National Security Adviser to increase its domain awareness.
At the Army Head Quarters, according to a statement, Lt. General Buratai pledged the support of the Amphibious Brigade of the Nigerian Army to collaborate with the NIMASA and other stakeholders to maintain security on Nigerian waters.
The COAS who noted that the Nigerian Army has the capacity to protect Nigeria’s maritime assets also expressed their commitment to reducing the incidences of piracy, kidnapping and oil theft in the Niger Delta.
In a related development, Peterside has called for the deployments of inter agency resources including the use of advanced technology to secure Nigeria’s maritime domain.
The DG said this when he led a delegation of the Management of the Agency to the Air Force Head Quarters to seek collaborative ways of dealing with the rising cases of piracy in the Nigerian waters.
He requested the immediate review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Agency has with the Nigerian Air Force with a view to strengthening the agency’s capacity to deal with maritime crimes as well as reduce the response time for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
Peterside commended the Nigerian Air Force and indeed the military for the successful prosecution of the war against insurgency in the North East saying, “now Nigeria can begin to discuss developmental issues for the good of all its citizens”.
While emphasising that maritime security needs a multi sectoral and inter Agency collaboration, Peterside called on relevant stakeholders to pool national resources together to defeat piracy and other maritime crimes for the economic prosperity of Nigeria.
He pledged the commitment of the Agency to partner with the Nigerian Air Force in order to fight this economic crime and reposition Nigeria as a major hub for maritime activities in the West and Central African sub region.
Responding, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the Air Force can deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) attached with cameras in addition to its fleet of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to enhance the surveillance of the Nigerian maritime domain.
Air Marshal Abubakar who said that the Air Force has several senior officers with competence in aeronautic engineering informed the NIMASA delegation that the Force has produced a prototype that is already in use, adding that they are ready to build capacity of some NIMASA personnel to handle UAVs.
While calling on the assistance of NIMASA and other relevant stakeholders for the mass production of these UAVs, the Air Chief also pledged the support of the Nigerian Air Force to partner with the Agency to deal with maritime crimes.
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