We will fight piracy to its end- NIMASA DG
.Says agency is working with global maritime community
.By Udeme Clement
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that the Agency is working with stakeholders and the global maritime community to curb the menace of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, in order to allow free flow of trade in the region.
Peterside made this assertion at the sideline of the G7- Group summit, held in Lagos.
He said, the fact that Italian government decided to hold the meeting in Nigeria, which is the first time outside Europe, shows that they believe in the country’s efforts to fight piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
He explained that since Nigeria has been given the leadership role to curtail criminal activities in the region, the Agency has continued to collaborate with relevant authorities, locally and internationally to put an end to the issues surrounding piracy in the region.
Speaking further, Dr. Peterside noted that NIMASA has also gone a step further to tackle piracy from four broad approaches namely; Legal framework through anti-piracy bill, which will soon be passed into law, thereby making Nigeria the first country in the whole of Africa to formulate such policy.
Others are; acquisition of military hardware, through partnership with an Israeli firm, which will enhance our response capabilities to criminal activities, enhancing our intelligence gathering system and regional integration as well as collaboration through working with other African countries.
His assertion, “No piracy begins and ends in one jurisdiction. When there is a hot pursuit, they shift to another region. On our part, we are determined to give them a hot chase through our partnership and collaboration with other countries in the region”.
In the same vein, the NIMASA DG used the opportunity to clear the air on the just concluded International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council election, and noted that the international community still reckons with Nigeria’s efforts in terms of its performance. “Nigeria is the first country in Africa that subjected itself to IMO audit, which rated Nigeria high in terms of security on its waterways in line with International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) facility code; with Nigeria having complied by over 80 per cent. In area of ratification of IMO conventions, Nigeria has done very well, which is evident in the day to day running of the maritime sector in Nigeria”.
On the reasons Nigeria did not win, he said, “It was due to the fact that we started fairly late in our campaign for the election, as Nigeria was still coming back into the international reckoning with a new government, so NIMASA could not reach out early enough to its counterparts in other countries for support, some of whom have made up their minds. He added that contrary to insinuations in the media, Nigeria however did not spend as much money as is being peddled”.
The NIMASA Boss called on the media to partner with the Agency in beaming its activities in good light and also expressed optimism that Nigeria has started preparation to return to the IMO Category C, in the next election in 2019.
Speaking, the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali , commended the collaboration between NIMASA and Nigerian Navy, stated that it has helped to curb criminal activities in the region.
Accordingly, “The combined efforts of NIMASA, the Navy and other relevant Agencies has helped to deter criminals from carrying out their nefarious activities on the nations waterways and by extension the Gulf Guinea.