Nigeria Invests in Boats to Fight Piracy
In 2014 the joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1) maneuvers alongside the pier in Lagos, Nigeria. Spearhead took part in Obangame Express, a multinational at-sea exercise designed to improve cooperation among participating nations in order to increase counter-piracy capabilities. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Weston Jones/Released)
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has assured Nigerians and the international maritime community that the Federal Government is actively working to keep the menace of piracy and other illicit crimes in check on the nation’s territorial waterways.
In this case the word are backed by action and investment, as the Nigerian government has approved the procurement of three helicopters and 12 fast intervention vessels to ensure coastal and aerial surveillance and patrol of the Nigerian maritime environment by the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA.
“While acknowledging the fact that piracy is a global problem which is not peculiar to one continent or country, the need for a concerted and coordinated approach in tackling the menace cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Dakuku.
At the same time he debunked recent reports that piracy was on the increase in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, suggesting that some media are manipulating statistics.
“In the area of inter agency cooperation, it is expedient to mention that NIMASA recently renewed its Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian Navy to strengthen collaboration between NIMASA and the Navy to enhance the safety and security of navigation in our waters as, well as leverage on the use of the Federal Government’s Falcon Eye Satellite systems domiciled with the Nigerian Navy including NIMASA’s Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems to respond to distress calls within Nigerian waters in order to prevent and adequately respond to threats within the Nigerian maritime environment,” said Dr. Dakuku.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has committed $186 million for maritime security infrastructure.
Nigeria is not simply investing funds to catch criminals on the water, it is investing legislative and judicial power shore side in crafting a robust legislative framework to criminalize and punish piracy and other maritime crimes, with a draft Anti-Piracy Bill. The Director, Legal Services of NIMASA Abdulsalam Suleiman also speaking, noted that the Agency is presently working with the Federal Ministry of Justice to finalise the Bill and has the assurances of the National Assembly of the expeditious passage of the Bill into law within the shortest possible time to strengthen the Country’s Anti piracy crusade.