James Emejo in Abuja
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA ) monday opposed a one per cent levy by the Nigerian Navy to the National Assembly to strengthen its operation in safeguarding the countryâ€™s territorial waters for commercial activities.
Speaking at a public hearing on the amendment of the NIMASA and Security Agent Act, Which among other things seeks to subject 1 percent of the maritime fund to maritime security, particularly the Nigerian Navy, Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage, Mr. Gambo Ahmed said the NIMASA Act already provided that maritime security be managed by the agency and not military.
He said military engagement in commercial shipping negates the principles of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and may subject the country to ridicule in the international community.
He cited instances where the US Coast Guard, rather than the US Navy is involved in similar security of the seas.
He said: â€œWe signed international convention All international conventions is to be implemented by NIMASA. Weâ€™ve to separate NIMASA function from the Military.â€
He said the country needed to protect its integrity among other nationâ€™s in that respect.
However, Rear Admiral Ferguson Dukas Bobai who represented the Nigerian Navy contended that any entity seeking the services of the navy in the international waters should pay for it especially in view of the massive investments involved.
He said: â€œIf you want to use the navy, you should be able to fund the navy: People should pay for it.â€
However, other stakeholders who made submission further moved against the setting aside of 1 percent maritime fund for the Navy.