25 October 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – FOLLOWING the resolve by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to checkmate the activities of pirates on the nation’s coastal waters, the agency has requested and gotten 120 military personnel deployed to beef up the operations of its Maritime Guard Command, MGC.
The personnel are drawn from the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Air-force and the Nigerian Police.
NIMASA’s Coast Guard Command which is headed by Navy Captain Promise Dappa has been responsible for recent successes the agency has recorded in the various arrest of pirates and criminals on the nation’s waters.
A Memo originating from the Parastatal Tender Board, PTB, dated 12th September and signed by one Adamu Mshelia, Head Maritime Safety seafarers Standard department, requested for a total of N28 million for the monthly operational allowances for the 120 military personnel.
The memo also requested for the approval of the Director General of the agency following the anticipatory approval granted by the PTB.
It was noted that the monthly recurrent and replenishable expenditure covers monthly allowances, feeding for the operatives, intelligence gathering and contingencies.
A break down of the figure showed that while over N3.7 million is to be paid out as allowances, N14.4million will be spent on the feeding of the officers. Another N6 million and N4 million is earmarked for intelligence gathering and logistics respectively.
In the memo, it was stated that the N4 million earmarked for logistics, contingency unforeseen challenges for the designated maritime zones of Lagos Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri.
Part of the memo reads “The board is invited to note that following the deployment of 120 officers and men drawn from the Armed forces and the Nigerian Police Force into the MGC for the purpose of beefing up its manning level in the fight against piracy on the Nigerian Territorial waters, there became a need to provide for some funds to cater for the recurrent expenditure on allowances for the officers and men on the operations”.
It will be recalled that only last week a combined operation of the MGC and the officials of the Global West Specialist Vessels, concessionaire for the security of Nigerian coastal waters foiled a ship hijack and arrested 15 pirates off the coast of Cotonou in Benin Republic.