Reps reject interference in maritime security, urge inter-agency collaboration

  • Task NIMASA on speedy utilisation of N50b floating dock

NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside (left), Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Lynda Ikpeazu, NIMASA Director of Finance and Administration, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, and another member of the committee during the visit

For Nigeria’s Integrated Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure (the Deep Blue Project) to achieve its purpose of stemming piracy and other maritime criminalities, the National Assembly said its operations should be free of the undue interference that has ensured illegal bunkering till today.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, Lynda Ikpeazu, spoke in Lagos Tuesday during the committee’s oversight visit to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and tour of some of its facilities under the project.

The committee had inspected the recently acquired Special Mission Vessels (SMVs) – DB Abuja and DB Lagos, presently anchored at Navy Town, and the C4i Centre, all under the Deep Blue Project. Addressing stakeholders after the tour, Ikpeazu expressed satisfaction with the vessels and the C4i Centre.

“If we can operate it the way it should be, then we have achieved a lot,” she noted. “That is why it is important that the Nigerian factor does not come into play, because if we are talking about bunkering and all that stuff, who actually does bunkering?

“If you are going to have people that will interfere with the information got from that command, then it doesn’t make sense for us to have spent the money we have spent so far.”

For the investments to worth the effort, she stressed the need for integration and collaboration among the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and all others with different maritime surveillance and security platforms for different ends.

According to her, “it is an ongoing project, and it is very important that all the agencies are integrated. It is not something to be done by a particular agency, the important thing is that we all work together. We are working for Nigeria.

“The issue of piracy can only be addressed if we get our security measures in place, and we just have to ensure that we complete it and not have it like an inchoate project that never ended.”

The committee also commended NIMASA for completing work on its N50 billion floating dock and urged the agency to fast track its movement to a permanent place to enable it generate employment and revenue.    

“We were able to see the floating dock; it’s been completed but hasn’t been put to use,” Ikpeazu said. “I urge the DG to ensure he does what needs to be done so that it is moved to a permanent site.

“We need to get a permanent berth for this huge platform because when fully operational, it would become a very huge revenue earner for Nigeria, because a lot of vessels would be able to dry-dock in-country,” she said.

On his part, the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, commended NASS for its continued support to the agency, describing the National Assembly as “our most critical partner in our quest to reposition the maritime sector, because the success of any regulator depends on the enforcement of laws made by the legislators.”

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