Government approves new maritime security framework

PHOTO: Tonye Bakare

Determined to fully combat the menace of sea pirates on Nigerian waters, the Federal Government has approved a new maritime security architectural framework aimed at streamlining working relationships among its agencies and the military.

The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed this during the visit of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Peter John Dauke at the Agency’s Headquarters in Lagos.

He said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved a framework, which will also aid in strengthening the working relationship that exists between NIMASA and other government agencies.

A recent report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), had stated that pirates in Nigeria continued to dominate in kidnapping activities, as this year, they have been responsible for the abduction of 31 crew members in five reported incidents.

Peterside said the role of the Nigerian Army in particular couldn’t be neglected, as the Agency strives to achieve a secure maritime environment, adding that most crimes perpetrated at sea are planned on land.

He therefore disclosed that processes are currently ongoing to renew the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Army.

He said: “We have continuously sought collaborative understanding with all security agencies, including the Army with which we have an MoU, which is in the process of renewal to effectively nip any security challenge in our maritime domain in the bud before it festers.”

He added that this was in recognition of the fact that “the security of our ports and the adjoining areas are very important to the safety of goods and services moving in and out of our country, and our commitment to the full implementation of the International Ships and Ports Security Facility (ISPS)) Code.

He said the need to partner with the Army Division covering Lagos and Ogun states cannot be overemphasised, owing to the strategic importance of Lagos to the nation’s economy being the only state in the country that has two international port complexes.

“We cannot be talking about merchant shipping without security both onshore and offshore, therefore we have to work with not only the Nigerian Navy but all security agencies, in order to ensure that criminals have no hiding place both on land and at sea because a large percentage of the crimes committed at sea are planned on land,” he said.

The NIMASA boss further said that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) realises the importance of security at the ports and adjoining areas, and as such, charged member states to ensure the implementation of the International Ships and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, which NIMASA has been commended for actively executing on several occasions.

Dauke on his part said the vision of the COAS is for Nigeria to have a professionally responsive Army that would continue to collaborate to ensure security not only in the maritime domain but the entire country.

Recall that in order to continue to safeguard the Nigerian maritime domain, NIMASA recently renewed its MoU with the Nigerian Navy, in addition to other existing MoUs, including the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Police amongst others.

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Dakuku PetersideNIMASA
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