By Udeme Clement
The Nigerian Navy (NN) has called on the Federal Government to direct the relevant agencies, especially the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), to enforce the installation of latest security devices on all vessels plying Nigerian waters to stem the tide of pirate attacks.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Amin Ikioda, who was represented by the Command Intelligence Officer, Commander Usman Bugaje, said this, during a paper presentation titled ‘Measures to Check Piracy and other Illegal Activities on Nigerian Waters’ at the sixth Ships & Ports Annual National Essay Competition and prize presentation ceremony in Lagos .
He went on: “Government should give attention to the coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea region to develop a robust regional maritime security strategy through capacity building, intelligence sharing and logistic support to enhance sea patrol and surveillance of territorial waters.
Greater attention must be given to capacity of the Nigerian Navy, through acquisition of more functional ships, boats, offshore patrol vessels (OPV), helicopters and back-up facilities to enable them perform their statutory role of hunting down sea pirates and smugglers, including combating other forms of maritime threats in the nation’s waters”.
“Nigeria ’s waters is fast becoming very dangerous in terms of piratical violence against vessels and illegal activities. Government must act quickly to combat the scourge of piracy. Piracy is a crime under customary and international law, which affects all countries.
It can occur in a state’s territorial waters, neighbouring jurisdictions and on the high seas. All stakeholders in Nigerian maritime industry must take reasonable steps to protect the maritime domain in order to achieve maximum economic and social gains.”
Also, the director general of NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, who spoke on, ‘How to Check Piracy and Other Illegal Activities on Nigerian Waters’, said, “The resurgence of pirate attacks in African waters is now a subject of serious concern to African states and indeed the international community.
Piracy in African waters for the last decade is concentrated in three regions namely, the Somali Coast/the Gulf of Aden along the East African Coast, Nigeria’s territorial waters in West Africa and the Mozambique channel/Cape sea route in Southern Africa.”