The Nigerian Navy (NN) and The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to the protection of the nation’s waterways.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ete-Ibas and the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, made this known when a delegation from the agency paid a courtesy visit to the Naval Headquarters, Abuja.
Ete-Ibas congratulated Peterside and also prayed the country to put an end to the illegal activities on the nation’s waterways.
He also congratulated the DG on his new appointment as the NIMASA chief.
“I want to thank you for choosing the Nigerian Navy first as your strategic partner in the business for keeping our maritime environment safe for our business.
“The Navy acknowledges the immense contribution of your agency in support of our operations over the years.
“In terms of capacity building and support, you brought in other areas, I can’t but agree with you on your observations that in the recent past, which is just the last three months, we observed this upsurge in maritime threat in the maritime domain.
“But you will recall too that in the last two quarters of last year, I think we have commendations from various stakeholders on our ability to sanitise the Nigerian Maritime environment.
“The Navy has not relented in its effort to ensure that we have a secure maritime environment,’’ he said
Ete-Ibas said the Navy was mounting surveillance system in the maritime domain and an awareness system with a view to combating maritime crimes in the nation’s waterways.
He expressed optimism that once the facilities were in place, the Navy would be able to see beyond the horizon and be able to respond appropriately to some of the threats.
Peterside commended the Air Force and Navy for protecting the nation’s waterways from illegal activities.
“We have the primary responsibility of maintaining safe seas for shipping, safer shipping, safety of lives and assets on the sea and promoting indigenous shipping both on our coastal waters and for international trade.
“We also have the responsibility for enforcing the Merchant Shipping Act of 2007, and the cabotage Act.
“In addition, you are aware that all conventions and treaties entered with the international maritime organisation is domicile with NIMASA as well as some conventions of the ILO.
Peterside said that this responsibility was enormous but in all of these responsibilities, one that was critical for which both Navy and NIMASA were critical stakeholders was the issue of maritime security.
The D-G reminded Nigerians that maritime security was a very serious business that should not be left in the hands of the law enforcement agents alone.
Perterside said that Maritime security was both international and a national responsibility that involved everybody if our effort to ensure that our water ways were saved for commercial activities was anything to go by.
This, he said, was the reason why the agency went into strategic partnership with other relevant agencies, especially the Nigerian Navy for it to achieve its objectives.
He stressed the need to enhance capabilities, the need to work with others to maximize national resources from all quarters, and to jointly discharge the responsibility to the nation and the international commitments.
He urged the Nigerian Navy to jointly work with his agency so they could combat maritime crimes in the next few months or at most in a year’s time.