*Prosecutes 10 sea robbers
(Report by Udeme Clement):
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his promptness in signing the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act into law.
He gave the commendation while addressing Journalists during a world press conference, organised by NIMASA, at Eko hotel, Lagos, yesterday.
Dr Jamoh disclosed that endorsement of the SPOMO Act by President Buhari paved the way for the Agency to convict 10 sea robbers, even as NIMASA is still working assiduously to ensure maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
NIMASA boss explained that the SPOMO Act is the first of its kind in the entire Gulf of Guinea, even as it is becoming a model for other African countries.
According to him; “Before official endorsement of the Act, prosecution of suspected sea criminals used to be a big challenge. Therefore, the SPOMO Act passed by 9th National Assembly has provided a legal backing for prosecution, as well as punishment of offenders”.
Speaking further on maritime security, especially the recent launch of Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project which has attracted commendations to NIMASA within and outside the shores of Nigeria, Dr Jamoh informed; “We set out on a triple-S agenda of Maritime Security, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development. But we focused our first year in addressing the problem of maritime security.
“We devoted our energy to maritime security because without it nothing will function.
“Upon my assumption of office as the Director-General of NIMASA, a year ago, and during the inauguration of the Agency’s Governing Board, the Honourable Minister of Transportation emphasised on deep blue project.
Today, I am happy to announce that the Assets have been signed, sealed and delivered accordingly”.
His words; “The fact is since deployment of the deep blue project assets in February, there had been steady decline in piracy attacks in Nigerian waters on monthly basis.
“The assets include two Special Mission Vessels; three Special Mission Helicopters; four Unmanned Air Vehicles/ Drones, 16 Fast Moving Interceptor Boats, 17 Armoured Vehicles, Over 300 Specially Trained Personnel for the Maritime Security Unit and the C4i Centre”.
Dr Jamoh continued;
“In Nigeria, we have many creeks. So, the
Special Mission Helicopters can be deployed easily for search and rescue. The Air Drones can travel very far to any location of attack, stay there for over ten hours to extract data and pictures that will be sent to C4i centre.
“The Special Mission Vessels can stay afloat on sea without anchor. Their duty is to carry information and disseminate to C4i centre. The Armoured Vehicles can be deployed to areas proned to attacks.
“When fully implemented, Nigeria will be a force to reckon with in maritime security. Today, Nigeria is being celebrated by international community. Certainly, this is a milestone we have achieved as a nation”.