The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has assured international shipping community and stakeholders of the country’s determination to eliminate piracy and criminality within her territorial waters.
The Agency’s Director General Dr.Dakuku Peterside gave the assurance while addressing multilateral and development agencies on the sidelines of the on-going IMO/MOWCA sponsored integrated sub regional coast Guard function network in Brussels, Belgium.
Dr. Peterside said Nigeria was working with both local and international counter piracy partners to eliminate criminality on her waterways.
According to him, “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 is committed to their compliance in order to eliminate piracy and criminality on the high seas.
“Nigeria is mindful of the serious risk posed by piracy and maritime crimes to life, navigational safety and the environment saying this is why NIMASA is 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 is adopting a multifaceted approach to deal with the challenge and assured the international shipping community that it is being tackled.
He urged the maritime community to draw a distinction between criminality, piracy and militancy reiterating that Nigeria is 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.