Maritime Domain: Why Nigeria needs robust security architecture--NIMENA

Engr. Henry Unuigbe, National Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Marine Engineers and Naval Architects

For a more secure maritime domain, Nigeria must step up its efforts in tackling piracy, kidnapping, hijacking, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, which has been attracting global attention negatively.

Engr. Henry Unuigbe, National Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Marine Engineers and Naval Architects (NIMENA) stated the above in his welcome address on the occasion of the institution’s 7th Annual Conference/Annual General Meeting on Thursday in Lagos.
He noted that the level of insecurity in the nation’s maritime domain had affected ship calls to the seaports, thereby causing diversion of cargo meant for Nigeria to other ports.
His words: For long, maritime security around the Gulf of guinea has attracted global attention with the situation in Nigeria more alarming. Piracy, kidnapping and theft in our waters have become recurring issues with its negative impact.
“Incidences of these kinds have made Nigeria an unattractive destination for ships, resulting in either rejection or diversion of Nigeria-bound cargo to other destination or increase in cost of transportation of cargo. The economic value chain associated with one of these is to a very large extent lost.  
“In my opinion, Nigeria must put in place robust maritime security architecture to tackle this menace. In doing this, we must eschew parochial interest and put the interest of Nigeria first,’’ Unuigbe said.  
He said the dilapidated maritime infrastructure and the issue of ship financing must be addressed to encourage effective performance in that sub-sector by indigenous shipowners.
According to Unuigbe: “The Nigerian shipowner is plagued with outdated maritime assets and limited access to capital. Those lucky to have access for the acquisition of ships do so via a double digit interest arrangement that end up, in most cases on a sad note. There is no doubt that this has greatly hindered development and growth in the industry.’’
He added that that there was need for establishment of more shipyards as essential infrastructure to support shipping in Nigeria, to encourage shipowners to use such facilities within the country and not going elsewhere for maintenance of their vessels.