By Sehen Ubanna
Between 1019 and 2021, the Israeli Firm, Messrs HLSI Security Systems and Technologies Limited which had won a $195 million Security contract to supply maritime assets had supplied the first set of maritime security assets to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA which had been deployed for operations in the nation’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea.
The Israeli firm had a mandate to flood NIMASA with three helicopters, three special mission aircrafts, three battle –ready ships, 17 vessels, 20 amphbious cars to aid security of Nigeria’s water ways.
But Bashir Jamoh, NIMASA , Director General, the agency , had said that between 2017 and 2021, the agency had taken delivery of 16 Armoured Vehicles, 17 interception boats, 16, for coastal patrol, Two Special Mission vessels, , Two Special Mission aircrafts for Surveillance of Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
Unknown to many the Israeli Securirity firm, HLSI Systems and Technologies Limited was still indebted to the Maritime Regulatory agency with the supply of more maritme security assets. Informed sources told the Value News that both for the involvement of amoh, the NIMASA, boss, into the murky waters of Nigerian politics, the Israeli firm would have supplied the remaining maritime securityasseets to the agency last May.
Indeed, the return of Jamoh back to the agency may have opened the door way for HLSI Systems and Technologies, Limited the Israeli firm to deliver the additional mobile assets for enhanced maritime security under the deep blue project.
A Statement by Edward Osagie, an Assistant Director, and the agency spokesperson disclosed that two unmanned aircraft systems, 9 interceptor patrol boats and 10 armoured vehicles have been added to the existing assets earlier procured by the ruling All progressive Congress, APC, of President of Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.
An Appreciative Jamoh had thanked Buhari for his sustained support in the fight against sea piracy and other maritime crimes, stressing that ‘’the additional equipment will improve on the gains recorded in securing the Gulf of Guinea and Nigerian maritime domain’’. The Nigerian President had said that the country loses n26.3 million annually on Piracy and sea robbery.
Jamoh who described the recently held Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum (GOG-MCF/SHADE) in Abuja as a success in rallying international support in the suppression of maritime insecurity, added that ‘’Nigeria’s commitment in regional maritime security will always be sustained’’.
He recommended the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act emplaced by Nigeria as a robust statute that supports maritime law enforcement which other countries are considering to replicate.
He averred that” Nigeria is improving on her capacity to fight maritime crime by procuring state of the art technology, upgrading human capacity for effective service delivery and deployment of the assets for round the clock patrol, interdiction and reconnaissance with the support of Nigerian Navy and other security agencies we signed MoU’’.
He further disclosed that ‘’the agency is encouraged by the Katsina state born Nigerian President’s regular support all the time to ensure adequate security of crew members, vessels and cargoes within and around Nigerian waters’’. He noted that these newly procured maritime security assets would assist the agency ‘’in building on the gains already recorded in the fight against piracy, sea robbery, oil theft, kidnapping, illegal fishing activities and others”.
According to him, ‘’the main objective of the Deep Blue Project is to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea. The Project has three categories of platforms to tackle maritime security on land, sea, and air.
The land assets, he noted include the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre ,C4i, for intelligence gathering and data collection; 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol; and 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit.