The Nigerian Navy (NN) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) have reiterated their resolve to fight against piracy and oil theft in the country.
Following the development, they pledged to strengthen their existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on security in the country’s territorial waters. According to them, the move is aimed at putting in place a stronger platform that would permanently stamp out maritime piracy and oil theft in the nation’s waters.
The two government organisations stated this in a joint news conference at Maritime House, the corporate headquarters of NIMASA in Lagos.
Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Joseph Ezeoba, who led the top brass of The Navy to the event, told journalists that his visit to NIMASA was informed by his determination to ensure full realisation of a fresh mandate given NN by President Goodluck Jonathan while appointing him.
He explained that both government organizations were poised to tackle sea robbery and all forms of illegalities in the Nigerian maritime domain soon.
The Naval Chief also said that his visit to NIMASA was to open fresh discussions with the agency to enable his outfit and the agency synergise to realise ‘Mr. President’s’ mandate. He is also seeking a redefinition of the NIMASA/Nigerian Navy MoU with a view to strengthening it.
Ezeoba further assured that the outcome of the discussion would bring lasting safety of navigation in the Nigerian waters.
Director General of NIMASA, Mr. Ziakede Akpobolokemi, had earlier said that the agency and NN had started taking a fresh look at the existing MoU between them.
The NIMASA helmsman said the move was aimed at ensuring that the NN, which has the statutory mandate to protect the Nigerian territorial waters, raises the capacity of the Maritime Guard Command (MGC) by providing it with more personnel as well equip it the necessary military hardware that would boost its ability to respond to any attack from pirates and oil thieves.
He specifically requested from the Navy chief to provide the MGC with a patrol boat completely manned by NN personnel, assuring that NIMASA would provide the necessary logistics for the patrol boat.
He argued that a secure marine territory would clean the bad image maritime piracy has given the Nigerian at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), boost trade as well as enhance NIMASA’s revenue drive.