Collaboration among various organs of government in Nigeria, autorities in the region and stakeholders from within and outside the country has given rise to the decline in piracy in Nigerian territorial waters and in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
Dr. Bashir Jamoh, the Director General, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), made this assertion while receiving the management of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 10, in Lagos, who came on a visit to the agency’s Apapa headquarters.
According to a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Public Relations, Mr. Edward Osagie, he maintained that the success in fighting piracy in Nigeria was a combination of many factors, which had seen the entire gamut of security architecture working together to achieve a common goal.
“Our joy is that Nigeria has exited the piracy list and the progress is steady. No single organization can lay total claim for the success. The Presidency is playing a major role by providing direction, the Armed Forces are playing their role as enshrined in the constitution, and NIMASA is playing its role by being an effective Maritime Administration with the Deep Blue Project as a focal tool. The National Assembly, who gave us the SPOMO Act and the Judiciary, who have now ensured maritime crimes are punished in Nigeria, should also get credit”, he said.
Dr Jamoh also acknowledged the support from the international maritime stakeholders as key to the success in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
According to him, the international conglomerates, including the major oil marketers, International Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) and the International Cargo Owners (INTERCARGO), amongst others, who were part of the joint industry-working group, which has now metamorphosed into the SHADE Gulf of Guinea, also deserved some credit.
The NIMASA boss disclosed that two of the agency’s Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS), located at the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (RMRCC) in Kirikiri and Takwa Bay, Lagos, were now fully functional.
“We have greatly enhanced the safety of navigation of vessels on our waters; every vessel within the Nigerian territorial waters and even beyond, can easily access our GMDSS. The ones in Takwa Bay and Kirikiri are now fully functional, while the other three stations located in Oron, Bonny and Escravos are almost ready to commence full operations.
“These are some gaps identified in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency by the IMO during its last IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) and we are closing these gaps”, he said.
Deep Blue Project surveillance aircraft
Commenting on the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Related Offences SPOMO Act, which now serves as a model for other countries in the region, Jamoh noted the need for harmonization of laws to ensure uniformity of purpose in prosecuting maritime offences within the region.
“Other countries in our region are now in the process of enacting laws similar to our SPOMO Act. This is the time for us to ensure harmonized Maritime Laws in the Gulf of Guinea to ensure criminalities in the maritime sector are prosecuted easily within the region, thus no safe haven for criminals in the region”.
The Director General also noted that NIMASA decided to engage the Naval Dockyard to repair the Agency’s patrol boats as part of efforts to deepen inter-agency collaboration with the Nigerian Navy.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation and the General Manager, NTA Channel 10, Engr. Olusegun Osinowo, had commended the efforts of the Jamoh-led administration in its quest to realise a robust maritime sector.
He also pledged the continuous support of the media in educating the public on the activities of the agency.
“With this feat, it is evident that President Buhari did not make a mistake in his choice of appointing the DG of NIMASA”, Osinowo said.