ARX Mouldings is following reports that the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has revealed that for almost two years now, Nigerian waters has been free from piracy attacks, thereby easing seaborne trade along the route.
Jamoh attributed the feat to the collaboration between his agency and the Nigerian Navy, maintaining that it has played a key role in maritime security in the once troubled waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
The NIMASA DG stated this when he received the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hasssan and a delegation of senior naval officers in Lagos, Nigeria.
Jamoh noted that the Nigerian model is now being adopted in other countries, adding that the change in narratives about security in Nigerian waters from the era of over 26 piracy incidents and negative media exposure to no single piracy incident in Nigerian waters for almost two years now is a direct product of effective collaboration of NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy, a relationship he hopes to deepen.
In his words: “Collaboration with the Nigerian Navy is largely responsible for the confidence of stakeholders in the current management of the agency. I was in Brazil last week, the South Americans and even our neighbours, like Ghana, are eager to learn how we arrived at this MARAD-NAVY collaboration that is yielding fruits.
“Just imagine that the negative media exposure between 2019 and 2020 about prevalent piracy and criminal activities in Nigerian waters had continued, you can only imagine where Nigeria would have been by now. I am glad we sought and got collaboration with the Navy.”
The NIMASA helmsman noted that the NIMASA is eager to have policy that will ensure Nigerians enjoy benefits accruable from the blue economy.
“The time has come for us to implement our crude to blue campaign since 2021. Maritime stakeholders in Nigeria should be ready to repay President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for creating the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry. If we must make headway in tourism and fishing, security is priority. We will make a case for the designation of Marine Protected Areas, particularly for fishing and the Nigerian Navy definitely will play a major role in it.
“The constitution of an eight-man committee, comprising four each from the Navy and NIMASA was also announced to serve as catalyst for shift from crude to blue, now that Nigeria has a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
The FOC West, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, stressed the need to sustain information sharing between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy.
He requested NIMASA to support ‘Operation Water Guard’ to combat smuggling around the Badagry channel.
The FOC West, who had the Commander, Deep Blue, Commodore O. A Akinbami on his entourage, noted that the deep blue assets are fully functional, requesting for further deepening of information sharing between the Western Naval Command and the NIMASA C4i centre.
He also urged NIMASA to bring to the notice of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, the need for Nigeria to take possession of a border island in Badagry, the oil rich Tongeji Island between Nigeria and Benin Republic for maritime tourism in particular.
Jamoh described the oil rich island as a low hanging fruit for the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, with an assurance that the agency will relate with the supervising ministry for further actions, particularly as regards maritime tourism.
The closest village to the Tongeji Island in Nigeria is in Badagry and it is about 55 minutes by water, while it is just five minutes from Porto Novo. The residents speak French and English and they do their daily shopping from Porto Novo.