The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has assured the international shipping community and stakeholders of the country’s determination to eliminate piracy and criminality within her territorial waters.
The Director General who said this while addressing multilateral and development agencies on the sidelines of the just concluded IMO/MOWCA sponsored integrated sub regional Coast Guard function network in Brussels, Belgium also noted that Nigeria was working with both local and international counter piracy partners to eliminate criminality on her waterways.
According to the DG, “We have a close working relationship with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) in order to foster an integrated approach to dealing with the menace. We have also increased surveillance and have deployed world class maritime domain awareness assets in conjunction with the Nigeria Navy and the Nigeria Ports Authority to monitor our maritime environment”.
Dr. Peterside said that in addition, the country has deployed Maritime Patrol Aircrafts (MPA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Air Force as well as other naval assets to patrol and monitor the country’s waterways.
The DG observed that as a signatory to all IMO instruments and regulations relating to maritime security, Nigeria was committed to their compliance in order to eliminate piracy and criminality on the high seas.
He also said that Nigeria was mindful of the serious risk posed by piracy and maritime crimes to life, navigational safety and the environment saying that was why NIMASA was strengthening the Regional Rescue Coordination Centre located in the country as well as enhance information sharing activities.
While responding to questions on rising cases of militancy in the Niger Delta region of the country, Dr. Peterside said Nigeria was adopting a multifaceted approach to deal with the challenge and assured the international shipping community that it was being tackled.
He urged the maritime community to draw a distinction between criminality, piracy and militancy reiterating that Nigeria was safe for shipping and other commercial activities in the maritime sector.
Dr. Peterside appealed to international development agencies to work with Nigeria in resolving maritime security challenges in the country because of its strategic position to the overall maritime development in the continent given the size of her economy, population and geographical location.
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