Strong indications emerged that the worsening insecurity on Nigeria’s maritime domain up to the Gulf of Guinea is taking its toll not only on the citizens but also on the nation’s economy as foreign shipping lines impose war risk insurance premium on all goods imported into the country.

This implies that if a shipping company for instance charges $150 per unit of 40-foot container destined for Port of Lome in Togo or Cotonou, the Republic of Benin, the shipping line would charge over $450 for the same size of container meant for any of Nigeria’s seaports because they assume the country is in a war situation due to the prevalence piracy, sea robbery and other forms of criminality on her waters.

Director General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who gave the indication, noted that multinational shipping lines impose war risk insurance premium on all cargo destined for the nation’s seaports due to the increasing cases of criminal activities on the nation’s waters such as piracy, sea robbery and kidnapping for ransom, among several others.

It was gathered that in addition to the war risk premium imposed on Nigeria-bound cargo, seafarers or crew members on board these vessels also collect a special security allowance, which according to them is to take care of the high risk associated with sailing into the country’s waters, as they could kidnapped, which is not applicable to other jurisdictions.

“These additional charges are spread to all of us Nigerians who consume these goods in terms of higher prices. This means that all of us pay.

“It is even worse considering that Nigeria is an import-dependent nation since we import most of the things we use in this country for both domestic and industrial purposes”, the DG lamented.

He however noted that this ugly development is clarion call on all Nigerians to collaborate with the agency and other sister security agencies in their resolve to change this narrative, especially in terms of sharing intelligence.

The DG noted that it was in the light of this that NIMASA is currently partnering the Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria Police with a view to closing ranks, adding that NIMASA assists in the area of intelligence gathering since the International Maritime Organisation IMO forbids maritime administrations from bearing arms in all commercial shipping activities.

He disclosed that many of the maritime security assets under its Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project have arrived the country, while some others are yet to arrive due to delays occasioned by the outbreak of the corona virus across the world.

Investigations also show that NIMASA is currently at the verge of integrating its Command, Control, Communication, Computers, and Intelligence Centre (C4i Centre} of the Deep Blue Project, which commenced operations on a 24 hour basis since last year, and the Nigerian Navy’s Falcon Eye as well as the C3i of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA to help track and combat criminal elements in the country’s maritime domain.

Citing the recent arrest and prosecution of 27 pirate suspects under the new Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences SPOMO 2019 signed into law in June last year by President Muhammadu Buhari, the DG assured that Nigeria will win the war against piracy in the country.

“We will then go back to the international shipping community and demand that the war risk insurance premium be removed because we have defeated piracy and all Nigerians will be the better for it”, the DG said.