DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said it will continue to partner relevant government security agencies including the Interpol and other stakeholders with a view to curbing the prevalence of maritime crimes within the nation’s territorial waters.

Recall that the agency has an existing Memorandum of Understanding MoU, with the Nigerian Navy, which led to the formation of the Maritime Guard Command, the Nigeria Air Force and the Civil Defence Corps, all geared towards curtailing activities of pirates, sea robbers and oil theft in the country.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who made this pledge at the first specialised meeting on maritime piracy organised by the Interpol Regional Bureau of West Africa in Lagos, made a strong case for proper legal framework, synergy and information sharing amongst government agencies and stakeholders.

These, according to him will help curb the issues of criminalities in the nation’s territorial waterways and the Gulf of Guinea.

He also called on stakeholders to work harmoniously and not at cross purposes in order to find a lasting solution to the menace of piracy activities in the region.

He said: “There is need for crimes to be successfully prosecuted and the process of successful prosecution of perpetrators of crimes committed at sea has commenced in order to deter others”.

“We have at no point prosecuted crimes on our waterways and the security agencies must initiate it. Every other person may give us assistance, but we have a role to play in ensuring that our waterways are safe and secured for maritime businesses to thrive. Therefore, this meeting should not just be a mere talk show because doing things in same way cannot produce results”.

The DG however commended the Interpol for the initiative, noting that it will engender synergy among government agencies and also assured that NIMASA will always support any initiative that will foster the growth and development of the maritime industry.

Meanwhile, Regional specialised officer for maritime piracy and convener of the meeting, Mr. Sunday Okoebor, while speaking at the event, decried the increasing spate of criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea, which he blamed on the lack of synergy among the security agencies, a development that has made it almost impossible to have a successful prosecution of suspects in maritime crimes.

He also noted that there was urgent need law enforcement officers of the various countries that make up the Gulf of Guinea to build the required human capacity to help tackling all forms of illegalities and criminalities in the region.

Okoebor also called on all security agencies to increase their collaborative efforts, arguing there must be a fusion centre where all relevant agencies are present for the Interpol to function effectively, thereby bridging the bureaucratic gap and by so doing give room for diligent prosecution.

Meanwhile a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice and an Assistant Director in the Ministry, Dr. Omotayo Oni, while speaking at the event, also made a case for synergy among security agencies, adding that capacity development is the key towards making the nation’s maritime domain safe and secure.

He also hinted that the Ministry of Justice was working hard to ensure that the bill on piracy and maritime crimes sponsored by NIMASA saw the light of the day, to stand as a legal framework for prosecution of maritime crimes.

Also at the meeting were representatives from the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Police who equally pledged their support towards the growth and development of the maritime industry in the region.