24 July 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry especially the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) have been called upon to redouble their efforts towards eradicating criminality in the Nigerian maritime domain.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside made this call when he hosted the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai at the Agency’s head office in Lagos.
The DG who decried the rise in piracy activities in the early part of this year called for strategic initiatives and synergy among stakeholders to arrest the trend.
According to the DG, “the operations report available to us is nothing to cheer about. While there is a drop in the number of vessels calling our ports, there seems to be a comparative increase in piracy activities. This means that operationally, both NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy must step up our game in order to guarantee a continuous prosperity of Nigeria’s economy.”
While commending the Nigerian Navy for the considerable reduction of criminal activities in the Nigerian territorial waters in the last three months, Dr Peterside however, charged stakeholders to do more in order to completely eliminate the scourge.
He acknowledged the existing partnership with the Nigerian Navy which he said has been mutually beneficial and said that the memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two Agencies is currently being reviewed to make it more effective and beneficial to the entire maritime industry.
“I am confident that the strategies being put in place by the Nigerian Navy including the launch of the FALCON EYE and partnerships with relevant stakeholders will go a long way in addressing the security challenges in our waterways,” the DG said.
He pledged the Agency’s continuous collaboration with the Nigerian Navy in the task of promoting a friendly environment for maritime activities in Nigeria.
Earlier in his remarks, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai who said he was in NIMASA for a familiarisation visit after taking over the Western Naval Command also called for greater cooperation between the two Agencies for the overall interest of Nigeria.
Assuring the DG of the readiness of the Navy to partner with NIMASA, the FOC said “our doors are open for a sustained partnership with your Agency. And there should be no obstacles to our collaboration which should guarantee the unhindered movement of vessels doing legitimate business in Nigerian waters”.
A committee earlier set up with members drawn from NIMASA, the Navy and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for the development of a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Takwa Bay was also mandated to expedite action for the actualisation of the project.