By Godfrey Bivbere
The passage of the Maritime Security bill by the House of Representative and moves by the ad-hoc Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS) in it bid to transform into an agency may have forced the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy to renew their relationship on safety on Nigerian waters.
Director General of NIMASA Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi recently led members of the Agency’s Management team on a courtesy visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ola Sa’ad Ibrahim at the Defence Headquaters in Abuja where the discussions on the issue were held.
Akpobolokemi said that the Agency’s desire to improve on the partnership with the Navy is based on the level of success recorded by the Maritime Guard Command Unit, a direct product of the existing MoU which domicile the unit in NIMASA.
He described the Maritime Guard Command as quite professional and responsive to its duties as specified under the MoU adding that the officers and men of the command have demonstrated commendable commitment to their job without allowing distractions to derail their work.
A press statement signed by Hajia Lami Tumaka noted the NIMASA boss said that since the Agency deployed five patrol boats in the Lagos anchorage for five months as a pilot scheme, the rate of sea robbery and piracy in the area have reduced drastically.
He explained that the Agency’s quest to replicate the success across the entire coastline has made the request for more officers and men of the Navy inevitable.
According to him, “we are about getting more platforms through a public private partnership arrangement and its our desire that the Navy provides the men to man these platforms. We desire to have divers also seconded to the NIMASA.
If our Oceans are better protected, it will enhance Safety and Security, engender an enabling environment for job creation, galvanize economic development and ultimately make Nigeria a happier place.”
Speaking further, the NIMASA helmsman noted that the Nigerian Navy is the only Government Agency in Nigeria constitutionally recognised to carry arms in the maritime sector in line with acceptable international standards.
He said that creating new organs of Government in Nigeria to carry arms in the Nation’s maritime sector will only amount to a duplication of government agencies which will ultimately lead to confusion and will be inimical to the development of the maritime sector.