10 August 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety, NIMASA, has warned that it would not fold its arms and watch illegal arms and ammunition take over the nation’s waterways.
Raising the alarm over the proliferation of arms and ammunition in Nigeria’s territorial waters, NIMASA’s director-general, Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi, told a breakfast meeting in Lagos for stakeholders in the maritime sector that the amount of arms and ammunition coming into the country through the water has become a cause of worry for the agency.
“The number of arms and ammunition coming into the country through our waters is alarming and there is need for NIMASA to know who and who is responsible for their importation,” he said, adding: “We want to sanitise the Nigerian waters to ensure that the nation is safe from proliferation of arms and ammunition”.
Akpobolokemi said policing the nation’s territorial waters was crucial to the maritime administration and that NIMASA has entered into private public partnership as part of efforts to arrest influx of arms and ammunition in the territorial waters.
The chief executive officer of the nation’s apex maritime regulatory agency maintained that the organisation has taken delivery of four 1,200 horse power engine boats to ensure adequate policing of the Nigerian waterways.
“Each of the boats namely, NIMASA Lagos; NIMASA Port Harcourt; NIMASA Warri; and NIMASA Burutu were acquired by Global West Vessel Specialist Limited as part of the subsisting memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the management of the firm and NIMASA,” he said.
Akpobolokemi explained that the acquisition of the boats was to enable the agency, which came into following the enactment of the NIMASA Act 2007 to go back to fulfilling its mandate which is maritime security and ensuring a pollution marine free environment.
“We want to perform our statutory obligations. What the provisions of the NIMASA Act 2007 told us to do is what we want to praticalise from environment to safety, from safety to security and so on. Our mandate is to provide a safe marine environment, secure marine environment and a pollution free marine environment,” he said.