The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki recently embarked on a tour of facilities and assets of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), even as she underscored the importance of inter-agency synergy.
Some of assets inspected include; the NIMASA Command, Control and Computer Centre (C4i), NIMASA Modular Floating Dockyard, the agency’s E-library and Vessels undergoing dry docking at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island.
According to the Minister, the equipment and assets of NIMASA underscore the importance the Federal Government attached to combating maritime crimes and ensuring zero tolerance for illegal activities on the nation’s territorial waters.
Noting that Nigeria has witnessed piracy free waters since 2022, she said: “For over 28 years, we have been in the press for the wrong reasons, over the piracy issues at the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). We were there when Mr. President commissioned the Deep Blue Project last year and within that short frame of time, we have broken the jinx. For the last five months, we had zero attacks. So, I think that says it all for my assessment of NIMASA”.
She, however, stressed the need to sustain the momentum to ensure Nigeria remains attractive to investors, adding that the Ministry is delighted at the steps NIMASA is taking to address the issue of War Risk Insurance premium on Nigerian-bound cargoes.
“The most important thing now is that we don’t rest on our oars. We have the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and should be concerned on how it affects Nigeria. We hope to create an enabling environment to be very attractive and highly competitive when compared to neighboring countries and collaboration amongst all maritime agencies of government in terms of information gathering and sharing is key in achieving this,” she said.
On his part, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh disclosed that the focus of the Agency is sustaining the achievements in recent times, adding that the plans are in three categories of short medium and long term.
Jamoh assured that the agency’s focus is to sustain the tempo, even as he expressed optimism that the clamour for the removal of war risk insurance premium on Nigerian-bound cargoes will soon yield positive results.
“The international community desires sustainability of the war on piracy and maritime crimes in Nigeria. The good thing is that they are part and parcel of our processes and procedures. We have the Nigeria Joint Industry Working Group where all stakeholders including; Intertanko, the largest owners of tankers in the world and the largest owners of cargoes in the world, and major oil marketing companies meeting regularly discussing developments in the Nigerian Maritime industry.”
“We have also strengthened our collaboration with the Nigerian Navy. The SHADE Gulf of Guinea is another platform where inter regional organisations such as the ICC and the European Union foster collaboration to secure the Gulf of Guinea,” the NIMASA boss said.
Noting that Nigeria was removed from the red list of piracy nations on the 3rd of March this year, he posited that the international community will desire sustainability.