Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh (3rd right), the board, Chairman, Asita Asita (2nd right) and other members of the board after their inauguration by the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, in Abuja, Thursday.

Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi has officially inaugurated the governing board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, tasking them on the urgent need to ensure timely completion of the agency’s Deep Blue Project, a security initiative which is part of Federal Government’s response to the increasing rate of maritime crimes, especially piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region.

The project, also known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, was initiated about two years ago under the immediate past board, which aims to comprehensively tackle insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone EEZ, up to the Gulf of Guinea.

Amaechi told the new board members Thursday in Abuja, that the Deep Blue Project was crucial to maritime security not only in Nigeria but also in the entire West and Central African region. He disclosed that about 60 per cent of the project’s cost had been paid by the Federal Government.

The Minister charged the Management and Board of NIMASA to “go and complete the Deep Blue Project,” stressing that the success of NIMASA is, to a great extent, dependent on completion of the project.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Board, Asita Asita, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the honour bestowed on them. Asita pledged to work harmoniously with the NIMASA management to deliver the agency’s mandate.

The board chairman stated, “If we must trade as a country, we need the waterways to be safe.” He said the security of the maritime domain was of utmost importance to the country, adding that NIMASA cannot afford to play with the issues of safety and security.

Other members of the 10-member board are the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh; Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Victor Ochei; Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Hon. Chudi Offodile; and Executive Director, Operations, Shehu Ahmed. Also on the Board are Adekola Adefemi, Mohammed Abubakar, Hassan Rasaq Mahmud, Eyewumi Daniel Neburagho, and Rear Admiral Ibikunle Taiwo Olaiya.