Lagos — IN a bid to further enhance the security of Nigeria’s coastal and territorial waters, the Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria, MASPAN, has called for a National Ocean Policy with a view to proactively plan and manage the nation’s maritime space.
Speaking at the just concluded Annual General Meeting of the group, its immediate past president, Col. George Alily, Retd, said that the policy will not only enable a more integrated comprehensive ecosystem based management of the nation’s marine resources, it will also give strategic direction with regards to maritime security.
Alily also said that the policy is expected to delineate roles of intragency cooperation while such roles are superintended by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Nigerian Navy.
According to the retired Army Officer, there is interlink between the land and the sea adding that whatever security challenges that are experienced at sea spills over to shore.
He stated: “There is also the need to take a closer look at the broader aspect of maritime governance. As you are aware, maritime security is rather liminal.
This is because maritime security concerns are often ambiguous and a complex mix of interdependent issues that cannot be addressed as problems of the marine environment alone.
“There are interlinked challenges on land, as in the case of the Niger Delta. In this regard, we are confronted with issues of national security, human security, the marine environment and economic development.
“These concerns manifest as, and drive insecurity in our waters. It is, therefore, within this context that I believe that governance of the adjacent ocean space, our coastline, rivers and estuaries require a comprehensive jurisdictional consolidation.
“It is my view that we need to develop a National Ocean Policy. The policy will enable a more integrated comprehensive, ecosystem based, flexible and proactive approach to planning and managing our maritime space.
“In addition, it would also give strategic direction in respect to maritime security, engender conservation of our adjacent ocean, coastline, rivers and estuaries in a sustainable manner.
“The Policy would expect to delineate roles while outlining interagency cooperation under the superintendent of NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy.
“Above all, it will define the maritime space in the context of our national interest, economy, security strategic assets and ecosystem.”
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