05 February 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Indigenous Ship Owners Association of Nigeria have advised the Federal Government to allow the Nigerian Navy to fully take over the security of Nigerian coastline to reduce piracy.
General-Secretary of the association, Capt. Niyi Labinjo, told the News Agency of Nigerian, NAN, in Lagos that the constitution of the country conferred on the Navy the role of securing the coastline and maritime lines of communication.
He said that it was the job of the Navy to go after the pirates and not the job of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
He suggested that the Navy should be adequately funded to carry out the roles.
The ship operator asked NIMASA to concentrate on growth of commercial and international shipping and leave the Navy to police the nation’s waters.
“All we are talking about is presence. If armed robbers are operating in an area, what happens if the police gets there; they will disappear.
“If the police is always present in an area, armed robbers will never operate there, same with piracy; same with illegal bunkering; same with all these maritime crimes.
“If the Navy is readily present with regular patrols and the people know that Navy is always there, they will not do all those things. How can Navy assure presence there? Give Navy appropriate funding.
“NIMASA should stop taking over the job of Navy. Running after pirates is the job of Navy, is not the job of NIMASA,” he said.
He added: “That is not the security that NIMASA is expected to perform, it is the job of the Navy.
“So NIMASA should concentrate on growth and development of commercial and international shipping. They should leave the Navy to do that,”he said.
He advised government to pay more attention to maritime industry as it had done to the aviation industry.
Labinjo said that both the aviation and the maritime industry were equally important.