Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Maritime safety, Education and Administration Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu

Francis Ezem

The House of Representatives Committee on Maritime safety, Education and Administration has made a strong case for the integration of the various security platforms operated by the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA and the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA under the country’s anti-piracy war in order to achieve optimum results.

Recall that the Navy operates the Falcon X security platform, while NIMASA has the C4i Centre, which is the intelligence gathering unit of its Deep Blue Project under which it seeks to eliminate piracy and all forms of maritime crimes not only within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone EEZ but also within the Gulf of Guinea region even as NPA operates the C3 centre.

Chairman of the committee, Lynda Chuba-Ikpeazu, who led other members of the committee on an oversight visit to NIMASA, said shortly after a tour of some of the agency’s security infrastructure, said there was urgent need for Navy, NIMASA and NPA to integrate their security intelligence platforms for optimum performance. She commended the management of NIMASA for its efforts towards eliminating piracy and other forms of maritime crimes in the country.

She however noted that the three major agencies of the Federal Government involved in the anti-piracy war might be working at cross purposes if they fail to harmonise and integrate their various security intelligence gathering platforms.

The chairman also commended NIMASA on the acquisition of its floating dock, describing it as a good revenue-yielding venture and urged the agency to relocate the facility to its permanent site where it would be put to effective use for the benefit of the country, arguing that the current location of the facility was not the best if it would optimally utilised.

“We have visited some of the projects and security infrastructure of NIMASA and we are quite impressed. The floating dock particularly is a good project, which needs to be completed and taken to its permanent site so that it would be fully utilised so as to yield more revenue for the country. All necessary works should be done towards its completion so that it is put into effective use.

“There is need to integrate NIMASA’s C4i security platform with those of the Navy and NPA to avoid unnecessary interference by un-authorised persons. If this is not done the expected benefits of the projects would not be achieved and the country’s huge sums of money spent on them would have been wasted”, she said.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, had while giving a welcome addressed, noted that the primary function of the agency was to ratify and domesticate international conventions, treaties and protocols, in which the National Assembly plays crucial role.

He thanked the legislators for the quick passage of the Suppression of Piracy and other related Maritime Offences SPOMO Act, 2019, which is a stand -alone legislation for the fight against piracy and other maritime crimes, being first of its kind in the West African region. This, according to him, has also given the agency the latitude to fight the scourge of piracy.

Peterside admitted that the idea of integrating the various security intelligence gathering platforms was a good one if the country must win the current anti-piracy war and pledged to work with the other sister agencies to ensure that the integration, which would also boost information sharing was done.