The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said that effective policing remains an essential component of the growth and developmental process of any maritime industry in the world including Nigeria’s.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, made this observation while receiving a delegation of the Maritime Command of the Nigeria Police Force led by the Commissioner in charge of the command, David Folawiyo who paid him a courtesy visit at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre NMRDC, Kirikiri, Lagos.

According to him, officers of the force are the first order of business, which is to serve and protect lives and property.

He also noted that as an agency of the Federal Government, the core mandate of NIMASA is to ensure the safety of the nation’s waterways, adding that it places premium on security and enforcement of all legal instruments that facilitate and complement delivery of these mandates.

“Let me commend you for what is in the offing to improve the nation’s maritime industry, particularly your plan to provide more Police personnel to secure our waterways. We are impressed by the plans you have put in place to complement our efforts in ensuring that our maritime domain is safe for maritime and shipping activities to thrive. We are open to partnership and collaboration, especially with the Nigeria Police Force”, the DG pledged.

He observed that security has a wide implication for the maritime sector and that NIMASA is taking the issue of Maritime security seriously in line with the global industry benchmark and standard, particularly the International Ships and Ports Facility security (ISPS) Code to enhance growth and regional stability.

He also commended the delegation and the entire Maritime Command of the Police Force, noting that a symbiotic relationship between NIMASA and other institutions of government in Nigeria was necessary to guarantee safety and security of our Maritime corridor, hence further promote ease of doing business in the country, in line with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council PEBEC.

Meanwhile, the Police Commissioner in charge of the Maritime Command, while speaking at the event, noted that his command was in NIMASA to fraternise with the agency for its achievements since the assumption of Dr. Peterside as Director General; and to also chart a path of possible partnership and collaboration as well as inform the Agency of the Command’s plans and activities.

According to him, a strong cogent relationship between NIMASA and the Nigeria Police Force was necessary to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment and that his team was ready to support the agency to realise it enabling mandates.

The CP disclosed the number of Police Officers deployed to the 63 Police outposts within his command, adding that the existing 2,500 officers and men within his jurisdiction would be increased to 5,000 on or before December, 2017.

He said: “A total of 1,300 men would be deployed to cover maritime alone, while 1,200 and 200 officers and men are expected to be deployed to cover ports and coast activities respectively”.

“We are also planning to bring in two helicopters to provide aerial surveillance of our maritime domain; and we are also seeking the approval of government to establish the Western and Eastern Maritime Zone to ensure effective policing and we know that this visit to NIMASA is a step in the right direction”.

Recall that NIMASA recently renewed its existing Memorandum of Understanding MoU, with the Nigerian Navy with a view to strengthening maritime security.

The Federal Executive Council had also recently approved the acquisition of some fast intervention vessels, which is also in line with the objective of the agency to secure the nation’s territorial waters with a view to promoting shipping and maritime activities in the country.