*Receives security equipment
Lagos — Following an upsurge in the rate of piracy and other criminal activities on the nation’s territorial and coastal waters, the Federal Government Monday commenced an onslaught on pirates and sea robbers just as it took delivery of six interceptor boats and six armoured vehicles, amongst others.
The moves to tackle the criminals was also due to the outcry by the international shipping companies, which categorised Nigeria a war zone over attacks on their investment, prompting Nigerian importers to pay high insurance premium on their cargoes.
Disclosing this in Lagos, Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaehci said that besides the acquisition of the crime fighting equipment, personnel that will man them have also been trained waiting to be deployed.
The Minister also said that the international shipping community is also worried about the spike in piracy hence the government had commence the onslaught before these criminal run the economy aground.
Amaechi also said that this equipment will manned by military personnel from the Navy, Army, Air-force and the Police adding they will be complimented by officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
He explained that because these criminals live with us, the military with the level of intelligence at their disposal will go and comb them out.
He said: “These criminals live with us do you agree?, because these criminal live with us, the Military both in terms of intelligence and physical assets, will go and comb them out just like they did in Somalia. Now you see Somalia is free.
“When you comb them, then there will be nobody going to the waters. Look at the huge amount of money the country is losing, you pay for so called surveillance, they escort vessel to off-shore facilities. So when you stop these people, you are going to save a lot of money for the country.
Speaking in similar vein, Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said that some of the maritime security crime equipment that the government has taken delivery of includes six interceptor boats, a special mission vessel which arrived December last year, another special mission vessel was due in the country next month, the first special mission aircraft will also be in the before the end of the first quarter of this year.
“Six Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC, are in the country already, the first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle will arrive before the end of February
“Then in terms of the helicopters, we expect the first helicopters in the first quarter of this year.
“Those are some of the assets we have on ground almost all the communication gadgets are in the country already. The Personal gear to kit the dedicated forces are also in the country as the Communication, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence’ otherwise known as the C4i is fully operational.
“But between now and June, 80 percent of the assets will be in the country.”
According to Peterside, the training are in phases, the first set of the training for seafarers, operators has been concluded, Intelligence Officers’ Course has also been concluded, basic infantry training for soldiers who will fight on land around the littoral areas has also concluded, the soldiers are waiting to be deployed.