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NPA maritime security

New integrated maritime security architecture coming—Minister

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Following rising loss of confidence on the security arrangements along the Nigerian territorial waters with its attendant costs on both ships and doing business within Nigerian seaports, the Federal Government on Monday said it is set to deploy its integrated maritime security infrastructure.

Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, stated this Monday in Lagos while briefing the media ahead of the launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project.

Addressing the media alongside all the heads of agencies under the ministry, explained the government’s decision to end the secure anchorage project, a private security initiative run outside the country’s port system.

He insisted that all ships coming into the country must anchor at the national ports under the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

The enlarged press briefing came after a high level security meeting with maritime stakeholders, where the Minister restated the President Muhammadu Buhari government’s determination to tackle maritime insecurity head-on. He assured that the Deep Blue Project, when fully operational, would drastically reduce piracy and other crimes within Nigeria’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea.

The Minister stated, “Recall that we secured an approval from the Federal Executive Council to introduce a maritime security architecture, which is coming to fruition. We engaged the Homeland Security International (HLSI), who are only to provide training and equipment, while the Nigerian Navy would lead the Police, Nigerian Army and Department of State Services, among others that would run the equipment.”

He stated that the security of the maritime sector needs a more holistic approach, hence the need to involve other arms of the country’s security services to support the Nigerian Navy working with NIMASA.

In his remarks, the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Peterside Dakuku said Deep Blue Project is ongoing and 80 per cent of the assets required for the takeoff of the total spectrum maritime security architecture would be deployed by June this year.

In his breakdown of readiness and assets being installed under the Deep Blue Project, Dakuku revealed that a good number of the assets had arrived the country, including six interceptor boats and a special mission vessel, saying a second one will come in before the end of February.

According to him, the first special mission aircraft will be in the country before the end of the first quarter of the year, while six armoured aircraft were already in the country, and the first unmanned aerial vehicle would come in before the end of February.

“We expect the first helicopter in the first quarter of this year. Almost all the communication gadgets are in the country as well as the Personal Protective Gear (PPG). The C4i centre is fully operational in Kirikiri, the NIMASA Research Centre. Those are the assets we have on ground.

“However, between now and June this year, over 80 per cent of the assets would be in the country and they would be manned by Nigerian military,” Dakuku claimed.

Business Hilights recalls that in the last one year, the Gulf of Guinea which Nigeria remains the major maritime nation within, had been under serious pirate and maritime terror attacks which has forced mega insurance firms to classify the stretch as a ‘War Zone hence War Insurance premium is usually paid by ships.

The payment had raised to an unprecedented level, costs of doing business at the ports especially costs of clearing goods as many ships now hire private security firms to escort ships in and out of Lagos ports for safety and equally transfer the humongous security charges on helpless Nigerians who either import or export their goods.

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