Regional maritime security paramount to economic growth-Dakuku
By Udeme Clement and Blessing Chioma
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ,NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Adol Peterside, has said that security in the Nigerian Maritime domain is a work in progress that requires the commitment of all stakeholders to ensure optimum safety of all investments in the sector.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos at the weekend, Dr. Peterside stated that the Agency is taking the lead on the issue of maritime safety in the entire West and Central African sub-region, noting that safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea has a direct impact on the Nigerian economy.
The NIMASA DG noted that there are a lot of factors that contributes to the cost of products coming into the country through the seas, which makes it very important to tackle insecurity in the waterways.
According to the DG “we must ensure the security of the Gulf of Guinea because Nigeria is not isolated from whatever happens in the region, which may lead to negative economic impact, or increase in the cost of insurance or war premium insurance and ultimately lead to high cost of goods and services which will be borne by the consumer of the goods and services”.
While noting that 65 percent of cargo heading to the region ends up in Nigeria, Dr Peterside who is also the current chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations, AAMA said that securing the nation’s territorial waters is a work in progress that requires the commitment of all stakeholders and neighboring countries, noting that the Management of NIMASA has recognised this fact and is implementing international regulatory instruments in collaboration with various countries in the region to checkmate criminal activities.
In his words “No maritime crime occurs within a jurisdiction alone. Very often the trend is that maritime crime starts from one jurisdiction and ends in another. The only way we can tackle maritime crime is all of us working together and there have been several regional initiatives in that respect to tackle maritime crime. Apart from the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, you have the Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy, you have the Gulf of Guinea Commission dealing with the same thing there are several sub-regional and regional initiatives to tackle maritime insecurity so I see a lot of potentials in regional collaboration and integration”
He said, “On the home front agencies of government, especially in the Transport sector has seen collaboration as the way to go. This has occasioned the renewal of the MoU between NIMASA and Nigerian Navy, as well as partnership with other sister agencies. The agency’s goal in implementation of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security ,ISPS, Code is 100 percent implementation level. The agency is still not resting on its laurels after achieving over 90 percent implementation level within a short period of being appointed the Designated Authority of the implementation of the code”.