The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that security in the Nigerian maritime domain was a work in progress that required the commitment of all stakeholders to ensure optimum safety of all investments in the sector.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos, Peterside stated that the agency was taking the lead on the issue of maritime safety in the entire West and Central African sub-region noting that safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea has a direct impact on the Nigerian economy.
The NIMASA boss noted that there are a lot of factors that contribute to the cost of products coming into the country through the seas, which makes it very important to tackle insecurity in the waterways.
â€œWe must ensure the security of the Gulf of Guinea because Nigeria is not isolated from whatever happens in the region which may lead to negative economic impact, or increase in the cost of insurance or war premium insurance and ultimately lead to high cost of goods and services which will be borne by the consumer of the goods and services,â€ he said.
While noting that 65 per cent of cargo heading to the region ends up in Nigeria Peterside said that securing the nationâ€™s territorial waters was a work in progress that required the commitment of all stakeholders and neighbouring countries, noting that the management of NIMASA had recognised this fact and was implementing international regulatory instruments in collaboration with various countries in the region to checkmate criminal activities.
â€œNo maritime crime occurs within a jurisdiction alone. Very often the trend is that maritime crime starts from one jurisdiction and ends in another. The only way we can tackle maritime crime is all of us working together and there have been several regional initiatives in that respect to tackle maritime crime. Apart from the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, you have the Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy, you have the Gulf of Guinea Commission dealing with the same thing there are several sub-regional and regional initiatives to tackle maritime insecurity so I see a lot of potentials in regional collaboration and integration,â€ he said.
He said that on the home front the agencies of the government especially in the Transport sector had seen collaboration as the way to go and that this had occasioned the renewal of the MoU between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy as well as partnership with other sister parastals.
Peterside also noted that the agencyâ€™s goal in the implementation of the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code was 100 per cent implementation level stating that the agency is still not resting after achieving over 90 per cent implementation level within a short period of being appointed the Designated Authority of the implementation of the code.