By Stephen Ubanna
For the past four months, Barshir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had embarked on a sensitisation Campaign that would bring all the government agencies that has something to do with water together to work as a Team in order to deal with the Pirates and other sea Criminals operating in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
In spite of the Wuhan Town , in the Hebei Province of China emerged Coronavirus, popular, COVID,19, which emerged last March and had a toll on the global economy, leading to the lockdown of countries and initiation of policy measures to contain it, Jamoh, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the NIMASA, may have seen as a source of strength.
Jamoh has had used the opportunity to reach out to Chief Executive Officers, CEO, of other government to drum into their on the need to team up with the agency to deal decisively with the pirates and sea Criminals operating in Nigeria waters and which are always attacking ocean going vessels and kidnap Crew members as many had been rescued through payment of ransomes.
He had started his working visits to the other agencies CEOs with Ibok Ekwe –Ibas, a Vice Admiral and Chef of Naval Staff. These was quickly followed up with avisit to Adamu Mohammed, the Inspector General of Office, Hameed Ali, a retired Army General and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS,Muhammad Babandede, Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Services, NIS and later to Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director,GMD, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Only recently, the NIMASA , Director General took his sensitisation Campaign to the Air Force in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. The visit was said to have provided him an opportunity meet with the Air Force Chiefs and have a one on one discussion with Abubakar Sadique, an Air Marshall, and Chief of Air Staff .
The NIMASA, Director General, message to the CEOs of the agencies that had were said o have been visited are the same: the need for Collaboration between the agencies and NIMASA to rid the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea of the pirates and make it safe for ocean going vessels.
He may have gladdened the heart of Sadique, the Air Force Chief, when he stressed about the importance of Air Assets to Deep Blue Project or Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure domiciled in the agency.
Maritime watchers believe that Jamoh , the NIMASA , boss may have considered the visit to the Air Force Chief very important because of plans to deploy its Air Assets in its maritime security efforts, which could only be managed and operated by the Air Force personnel. The Air Assets and other security equipment are being supplied by HLSI Security System and Technologies, an Isreali firm, which won the $195 million security Contract also includes the training Nigerian personnel tackle Crime along the nation’s water ways.
An elated Jamoh, had requested from Air Marshall Sadique, the Air Force support for adequate arrangement of the two Special mission aircraft that are expected in the country from the Isreali security firm in the next few months which would be delopyed for operations.
Recall the the the Isreali security firm had already delivered 17 fast interceptor boats and 15 Armoured vehicles and two Special mission vessels and other marine Assets to the agency based on the terms of Contract with the Federal government.
The Air Force Chief may have drawn the attention of Jamoh, the NIMASA, helmsman, to the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, that was said to have been signed between the between the AirForce and the Agency in 2013 under the close watch of Patrick Apobokolomi, the then Director General. The MoU,, the Air Force Chief said was on ‘’marime Air Surveillance and Intelligence. The MoU, according to Sadique, the Air Force Chief, had Elapsed,but that had not stopped the Air Force from supporting the nation’s maritime security efforts by working closely with the agency and the Navy.
He was said to have told the visisting NIMASA Director General that the Air Force under his Command had established a Combat Reconnnaissance Group, CRG, 203, in Gombe state, north east Nigeria and other parts of the north. The Air Force Chief, disclosed that the drones that would be deployed with the CRG 203, could be moved to any part of the country including the Coastal locations, at short notice. He noted that the Air Force , had to support the nation’s maritime environment because of the crucial place of the maritime sector to the survival of the country.
He was said to have also told the NIMASA, Director General of the Air Force Authority plans to establish UAV wings in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial hub center, Calabar and Port Harcourt , Capital of Oil rich Rivers state to further support other government agencies’’ to maintain the security of the nation’s maritime sector’’.
Given the appeal by the NIMASA boss, to the Air Force Chief to partner with the agency, Philip Kyanet, a Deputy Director and Head of the agency Corporate Communications said Air Marshall Sadique has agreed to do everything within his powers to partner with NIMASA, in order to rid Nigeria water ways of Piracy and other sea Criminal activities.