NIMASA wants inter-agency collaboration to fight piracy

…Agency’s 2016 budget targets strategic growth for maritime

Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside receiving a plaque from the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar when Peterside led NIMASA Management team on a working visit to the CAS in Abuja
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has called for the deployment of inter -Agency resources including the use of advanced technology to secure Nigeria’s maritime domain.

Peterside said this when he led a delegation of the Management of NIMASA to the Air Force Head Quarters to seek collaborative ways of dealing with the rising cases of piracy in the Nigerian waters.
He  requested the immediate review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Agency has with the Nigerian Air Force,  with a view to strengthening the Agency’s capacity to deal with maritime crimes as well as reduce the response time for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
He commended the Nigerian Air Force and indeed the military for the successful prosecution of the war against insurgency in the North East saying that “now Nigeria can begin to discuss developmental issues for the good of all its citizens.”
While emphasising that maritime security needs a multi sectoral and inter Agency collaboration, the NIMASA DG called on relevant stakeholders to pool national resources together to defeat piracy and other maritime crimes for the economic prosperity of Nigeria.
A statement from the Head Public Relations, Hajia Lami Tumaka showed Peterside pledged NIMASA’s  commitment to partner with the Nigerian Air Force in order to fight this economic crime and reposition Nigeria as a major hub for maritime activities in the West and Central African sub region.
Responding, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the Air Force could deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) attached with cameras in addition to its fleet of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to enhance the surveillance of the Nigerian maritime domain.
Air Marshal Abubakar who said that the Air Force has several senior officers with competence in aeronautic engineering, told the NIMASA delegation that the Force had produced a prototype that was already in use and that they are ready to build capacity of some NIMASA personnel to handle UAVs.
While calling on the assistance of NIMASA and other relevant stakeholders for the mass production of these UAVs, the Air Chief also pledged the support of the Nigerian Air Force to partner with the Agency to deal with maritime crimes.
It will be recalled that NIMASA and the Nigerian Air Force had endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Air Force where the Force is expected to provide air surveillance of the maritime domain as well as provide support to the Agency’s search and rescue operations amongst others.
Meanwhile, the DG has said that the Agency’s 2016 budget targets a strategic growth programme for the maritime sector.
Peterside who said this during the defence of the Agency’s 2016 budget before the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration observed that the Agency is committed to growing the maritime sector for the benefit of indigenous operators and the nation at large.
He told the Committee members that the Agency targets strategic growth in five key areas in the year 2016 including maintaining maritime safety and security, maintenance of a clean maritime environment and enhanced port state control.
Others areas the DG mentioned include building human and infrastructural capacity as well as sanitising the maritime environment to eliminate corruption while increasing revenue generation for economic growth.
According to the DG, the Agency aims to tap into the vast potentials of the Nigerian maritime industry by growing indigenous capacity with a view to making Nigeria a hub for maritime activities in the West and Central African sub region.
He maintained that this process will include a radical restructuring of the Agency with a view to repositioning it for greater efficiency and service delivery.
He also assured the Honourable Members of the management’s commitment to ensure transparency, accountability and probity in the discharge of its mandate warning that there would be zero tolerance for corruption.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Mohammed Umaru Bago commended the spirit of industry and commitment of the DG saying that he had no doubt in the Dr. Peterside’s ability to succeed.
He also challenged the DG to utilise all the resources at his disposal to restore safety in the Nigerian maritime domain and also revamp the image of the Agency which he said has been badly damaged in the last few years.

He assured the Agency of the cooperation and support of the committee for the DG’s programmes for 2016 insisting that the committee will monitor the implementation of the budget very closely.