The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has disclosed that the collaboration with the Nigerian Navy has played a key role in the achievements of the agency under his watch in terms of maritime security on the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea (GOG).
Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, stated this when he received the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan and a delegation of senior Naval officers who visited NIIMASA’s office in Lagos on Wednesday.
Jamoh noted that the Nigerian model is now being adopted in other countries, adding that the change in narratives about security in Nigerian waters from the era of over 26 Piracy incidents and negative media exposure, to zero piracy incident on the Nigerian waters for almost two years now, is a direct result of effective collaboration of the Maritime Administration with the Nigerian Navy, a relationship he hopes to deepen and sustain.
He said: “Collaboration with the Nigerian Navy is largely responsible for the confidence of stakeholders in the current Management of the Agency. I was in Brazil last week, the South Americans and even our neighbors like Ghana are eager to learn how we arrived at this MARAD-NAVY collaboration that is yielding successes.
“Just imagine that the negative media exposure between 2019 and 2020 about prevalent piracy and criminal activities in Nigerian waters had continued, you can only imagine where Nigeria would have been by now. I am glad we sought and got collaboration with the Navy.”
Jamoh noted that the NIMASA is eager to ensure policy to ensure Nigerians enjoy benefits accruable from the Blue Economy, adding: “The time has come for us to implement our Crude to Blue campaign in 2021. Maritime stakeholders in Nigeria should be ready to reward President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for creating the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
“If we must make headway in tourism and fishing, security is a priority. We will make a case for the designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) particularly for fishing and the Nigerian Navy definitely will play a major role.”
The constitution of an eight-man committee, comprising four each from the Navy and NIMASA was also announced to serve as catalyst for Shift from Crude to Blue, now that Nigeria has a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
Responding, Hassan, who pointed out the need to sustain information sharing between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy, commended the Management of NIMASA for the support to the Western Naval Command.
He also requested NIMASA to support the Operation Water Guard to combat smuggling around the Badagry channel.
The FOC West, who had the Commander Deep Blue, Commodore O.A. Akinbami on his entourage, noted that the Deep Blue assets are fully functional and requested further deepening of information sharing between the Western Naval Command and NIMASA’s C4i centre.
He also urged NIMASA to notify the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, the need for Nigeria to take possession of a border island in Badagry, the oil rich Tongeji Island between Nigeria and Benin Republic for maritime tourism in particular.
On his part, Jamoh described the oil rich island as a low hanging fruit for the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and assured that the Agency will relate with the supervising Ministry for further actions, particularly with regard to maritime tourism.
The closest village to Tongeji Island in Nigeria is Badagry and it is about 55 minutes on water and just five minutes from Porto Novo in Republic of Benin. The residents speak French and English and they do their daily shopping from Porto Novo.