By Michael Eboh
The proposed Maritime Security Agency will boost employment in the country, by engaging over three million youths within three years, while tackling the issue of vandalism of oil assets.
The Director-General, Stakeholders for the Maritime Security Agency, MASECA, Mr. Jacob Ovweghre, said in a statement that it will also boost security in the littoral zone and also help Nigeria generate and save over N3.1 trillion annually.
According to him, MASECA can directly employ, engage and empower over 50,000 youths and indirectly employ, engage and empower over three million youths with ease within three years.
He condemned the recent spate of bombings and kidnapping in region, saying it will make the Niger Delta region more destructive and further degrade the environment.
According to him, the action has nothing to do with the Niger Delta agitation, as it is criminal, while he urged the relevant agencies not to leave any stone unturned in their investigations.
However, he advised that the investigation should be objective and transparent and should also not be used to witch-hunt, harass or intimidate anyone irrespective of sex, belief or political affiliates in Niger Delta.
He was quoted as saying: “Today, maritime criminals are giving the Niger Delta region, Nigerian Navy and other security agencies a discomforting and overbearing burden to secure the entire territorial waters and Gulf of Guinea.
“These persistently and challenging myriad of threats look lofty to solve without collective responsibility of all stakeholders. This is why I call on all the stakeholders in the maritime, petroleum, security and the youths to support the bill for the establishment of the Maritime Security Agency.
“It will enable us join force with the gallant Nigerian Navy to stamp out criminals from our territorial waters and Gulf of Guinea. The Agency might just be one of the missing projects on Youth Development, Employment and Empowerment Programme to broker peace in Niger Delta and Nigeria.”
Ovweghre explained that the Maritime Security Agency is specially conceived as a Super Coast Guard that will be equipped with light weapons to complement the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies to address the discomforting and insurmountable security threats in the nation’s territorial sea and coastland.
He further said that if MASECA gets the necessary legal backing, issues of pipeline vandalism and fuel scarcity would be reduced drastically, ýwhile fuel price might drop sharply, as it will deploy all its personnel to oil installations across the country to safeguard them from sabotage.
He further said the Agency, which would be self-financing, will address the issue of unemployment, as it will create an avenue for over three million youths to be gainfully employedý.