Following the rising incidences of insecurity on the nation’s waterways, the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has called on the maritime stakeholders to volunteer platforms to the Nigerian Navy to effectively tackle the menace.
The President of NAMM, Capt. Tajudeen Alao who made this appeal in a chat with this medium argued that the federal government as well as the industry should as a matter priority supply the Navy with platforms as it was better equipped to carry out security function on water than the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) which was not empowered by the law to bear arm nor to shoot at anybody.
He said,” Take a cue from the state governments, every state is giving patrol vehicles to the police, it is outside their budget, so, we should do that to the Navy, not giving them money but give them physical structure. If it is NIMASA, NPA, NIWA or Lagos State government, they should inscribe their name on it and donate it to the Navy because honestly speaking; they are the ones that have the capacity, the training and the authority to shoot.
“The Navy used to play big role in the fishing protection but that role has been down played, it is oil money now”.
While admitting that insecurity on waters was a global phenomenon, he however called for collaboration of the West African government to stem the tide as it was possible for the pirates to kidnap a ship in Nigeria and take it to off Sierra-Leon.
In his words,” So, even if we prevent people taking ships here, we must also collaborate so that other countries don’t allow them to receive it. So, it is a regional thing, it is a global thing because the consequences are also serious”.
On the maintenance of the platforms when donated, Alao stated,” If the platforms are there, they are being maintained, they are being fueled, if they are not there, the people would want to know why it is not there. But the Navy can maintain all these things themselves because I know they have the capability, they have the engineers, they have the base.
“The people that donated the platforms would want to know how it is used. If there is no platform and they donated one, they would want to know how it is used. Nobody can query the Navy now because we didn’t give them but if the stakeholders give one to the Navy, they can query them”.
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