DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has said that capacity building initiatives and sectoral reforms are crucial elements that can address maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who spoke at a G7 high level meeting on maritime security in Rome, Italy, noted that despite the security challenges being faced in the region, lots of concerted efforts with stakeholders and other government agencies have been put in place to check the menace.

The DG who doubles as Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administration, AAMA, observed that piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have reduced tremendously as statistics show that attacks on oil and gas installations both onshore and offshore reduced from 36 in the first half of the year 2016 to nil in the corresponding period in 2017.

He said: “the maritime security architecture in the Gulf of Guinea has political, strategic, regional, multinational and national components, which are aimed at enhancing the security in the region.  The strategic operational headquarters to coordinate the implementation of the Maritime Security Architecture in the region are located in Abuja Nigeria, Libreville in Gabon, Luanda in Angola, Pointe Noire in Congo and Yaoundé in Cameroun”.

The NIMASA DG also urged leaders of countries in the Gulf of Guinea to effectively communicate developments in the region to international partners and also begin to put in place measures that translate measurable and visible results.

He however disclosed that efforts are being put in place by the agency to curb piracy activities in Nigeria, which include; sponsoring Anti-Piracy Bill at the National Assembly to enhance the legal framework anti piracy war, establishment of a NIMASA-Navy Maritime Guard Command Unit to enhance implementation of some of the provisions of UNCLOS Law, capacity building programmes to enhance human and infrastructural capacity upgrade, among others.

“Let me also inform you that as part of our determination to stamp out piracy and all forms of criminal activities, NIMASA is pushing for early passage of an anti-piracy law; the draft bill is before the Federal Executive Council ready to be sent to the National Assembly”, the DG said.

Peterside also told the international gathering that the Federal Government of Nigeria recently approved massive investments in maritime security which includes; command and control centre, acquisition of special mission aircrafts, special mission patrol vessels, special mission helicopters, specially training of naval personnel among others.