By Michael Eboh
ABUJA — THE Director- General of the proposed Maritime Security Agency, Mr. Jacob Ovweghre, weekend, lamented the huge amount the country is losing daily to pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft, stating that the passage of its bill currently before the National Assembly would help boost Nigeria’s revenue by N3.1 trillion annually.
Ovweghre, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, further said once it gets the necessary legal backing, issues of pipeline vandalism and fuel scarcity would reduce drastically, while fuel price might drop sharply, as it would deploy all its personnel to oil installations across the country to safeguard the assets from acts of sabotage.
He said the agency, which would be self-financing, would help address the issue of unemployment, as it would create an avenue for over three million youths to be gainfully employed.
He said presently, Maritime Security Agency is operating skeletal services and is involved in intelligence gathering, noting that when its bill is passed, its personnel would be deployed to areas notorious for piracy, pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft to stem the nefarious activities.
He added that its activities would help assure foreign investors that Nigeria’s territorial waters and the country in general, is safe for investment.
He said: “Maritime security is a complex task the world over. It entails protecting all forms of maritime assets, identification and evaluation of special maritime threats and how to comprehensively manage them.
“To achieve the safety of Nigeria’s maritime industry, government must vigorously and robustly explore collaborative synergy with relevant stakeholders and organisations that possess the requisite expertise to enhance the nation’s maritime security.
“It is on this note that we call on President Muhammadu Buhari, who is reputed to be a listening and responsive president, to as a matter of urgent national importance, grant necessary operational approval to the Maritime Security Agency (MASECA) expressly.”