Piracy: Group seek declaration of state of emergency on nation’s waterways


Following the upsurge in piracy and other criminal activities on the nation’s waterways in recent times, the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on the nation’s waterways and maritime domain.

Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Monday, the President of the association, Mr. Bob Youso said that declaration of state of emergency on the nation’s waterways and maritime would help curb the high rate of piracy and other criminal activities on the nation’s waterways as there were lots of kidnappings issues nation’s waterways in recent times.

Youso observed that seafarers were no longer safe just as the fishing trolley were no longer safe arguing that if the trend continues unchecked, many companies might relocate their businesses to the neighbouring countries to operate and “we will be losing more vessels and more ships. By so doing, our seafarers will be jobless and all the rest.”

“So, we have to make sure that our waterways are safe”, he added.

On seafarers’ welfare, he said that the association still expects more from President Muhammadu Buhari especially in the improvement of the seafarers’ welfare even as he called for urgent action plan in improving the poor infrastructure deficit in the nation’s ports.

He further made a case for a clear objective in the re-establishment of the national carrier as according to him, “this will help the nation play a frontline role as a core maritime nation in the global economy of the shipping industry and also create more employment for our seafarers and in training our teeming cadets.”

He however admitted that the Buhari’s administration had recorded some improvements in the seafaring sector of the maritime industry in Nigeria in the last five years.

“I may say he has made some commendable improvements towards the development of maritime education in Nigeria especially the special attention we have seen in recent days in the infrastructural and manpower development in the premier maritime institution in Nigeria, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron. At least, with the Buhari administration, if you go there now, you will see a lot of improvements, he has standardized the school and I think there must be commendation to this administration.

“We also commend the sagacity of Mr. President through the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and other relevant stakeholders that ensured for the first time, the signing of the National Joint Industrial Council Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NJIC, the statutory condition of service for the seafarers in Nigeria.

“We are also very optimistic that reshuffled NIMASA cabinet will be geared towards injecting new energy in the maritime regulatory agency”, he submitted.

Photo: Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.

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