Nigeria strategic to tackling maritime crimes in sub-region- NIMASA
By Joel ThankGod
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has described the Nigerian maritime sector as being strategic to tackling issues of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea ,GoG.
He made this known while presenting a paper titled; ‘Nigeria’s role in combating maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea’ at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London, noted that Nigeria, which accounts for 65 per cent of cargo generated and the largest population within the region is central to the success on fight against piracy in GoG.
According to him, “Maritime insecurity has economic, social and environmental implications in the sub-region. Therefore, Nigeria is leaving no stone unturned in solving these challenges. Nigeria is curbing the menace through a total spectrum maritime strategy, which include law enforcement, regional co-operation, response capability building and enhanced maritime domain awareness for all organs of government responsible for maritime security.
“Nigeria has installed satellite surveillance systems such as the Coastal Radar systems, Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, GMDSS, among others. Also, the Anti-Piracy bill that is currently undergoing legislative procedures aims at criminalising piracy and all maritime crimes in the country’s domain, with attendant punishment enshrined in Nigeria’s legal framework”.
The NIMASA DG went on, “Implementation of an Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Protection Solution with command and control infrastructure in the Agency is part of government’s deep blue contract to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea. The deliverables from deep blue project are expected to bolster Nigeria’s maritime security architecture to increase monitoring as well as compliance enforcement within the Nigerian waters and it’s Exclusive Economic Zone ,EEZ. The Nigerian Navy has stepped up its activities at the creeks and has seen the figures of illegal refineries destroyed increased exponentially from 97 in 2015 to over 1221 in 2017.
“The global maritime piracy statistics obtained from icc-css shows a decline in piracy attacks in Nigeria’s waters from 445 in 2010 to about 180 in 2017, as an indication that the rage against piracy in Nigeria is headed in the right direction. Nigeria’s intervention led to the establishments of ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Security Strategy ,EIMS, and Inter-regional Coordination Centre ,ICC, in Yaoundé Cameroun. Nigeria played a leading role in the establishment of African Integrated Maritime Security ,AIMS.
“The factors making Nigeria strategic in the fight against maritime crimes in the region to include; being a country with the highest number of military contingent and might within the region, huge deposit of oil and gas; thereby making it a place of interest for international energy dynamics, the geo-strategical location of Nigeria and a country with the largest delta areas of the world characterised by thousands of creeks”.
Peterside who is the current Chairman, Association of African Maritime Administrations ,AAMA, called for continuous collaboration with partners across the continents.
The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, is an independent policy Institute based in London. The Institute engages governments, the private sector, civil society and its members in open debates and private discussions on significant developments in international affairs.