Nigeria battles piracy, kidnapping, armed robbery on waterways

George Onah

30 September, 2011, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt- Disturbed by the spate of piracy and other vices within and around Nigeria’s territorial waters Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has called on the maritime sector to search for the solution to the menace.

Also, the Federal Government says it has introduced integrated maritime security and surveillance centres and long range identification and tracking system as measures aimed at checking piracy and armed robbery on the high seas.

Amaechi who was at the 2011 World Maritime Day in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said piracy had robbed the nation of its image and threatened the economic growth of the nation, appealing for an urgent move to check the brigandage.

“This administration has sustained its response to criminality, piracy, militancy and other vices to ensure that our people can continuously utilize our waterways for business, fishing tourism and other lawfully purposes without fear”.

He said the state was a coastal one which habours the nation’s second largest and busiest seaport and the hub of its oil and gas transported across the seas, consequent upon which the seas must be free for navigation for all seafarers.

Represented by his deputy Tele Ikuru, the governor said “no stone should be left unturned at addressing a worrisome development that has increasingly threatened shipping and maritime industries locally and globally.

He disclosed that the government “has continuously sustained our support for the security agencies by providing them with modern comb at equipment, communications gadgets and funds to enhance their capability to respond lethally in all forms of threats on our waterways.

We shall continue to do that given our conviction that maritime safety and security is an inevitable responsibility that cannot be wished away or glossed over”.

On his part, the SA to the President on Maritime Services Mr. Leke Olugbenga Oyewqole assured that the president was deploying every means possible to arrest the menace of piracy, lamenting the oil industry was the worst affected “as over 90 per cent of incidences so far reported happened on tanker ships”.

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