NIMASA: Why The $195 million Maritime Security Assets May Not Be A Drain Pipe

 By Stephen Ubanna

 Those who think that  the $195 million, Integrated  National Security  and Waterways Protection Infrastructure,  popular, Deep Project security , assets , would be  a money guzzler would be disappointed

 This is because the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, under the close watch of Bashir Jamoh,  have  the required  manpower to maintain and service the multi-million dollar security assets ‘’to serve their purpose  of providing security’’  for ocean –going vessels in  Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, which has been described as the hotbed of Piracy in the world.

. The  security assets comprises of 16 armoured  vessels  for coastal Patrol,  two Special Mission Vessels,  17 interceptor boats,  two Special Mission aircrafts,  for Surveillance  of Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, three  Special Mission  helicopters  for  Search and Rescue, S&R, and four unmanned Aerial  Vehicles were supplied to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, by the  Israeli Firm, HLS International Systems and Technologies Limited between 2019 and 2021.

NAF, Personnel trained To Pilot And Maintain The NIMASA Deep Blue Projec,t Special Mission Aircraft

Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director general,  may have  alluded to the fact that ‘’the Challenge  is not about the  deployment of the assets for Operations  but about its maintenance  and sustaining   the tempo of the project that it  can  outlive  the present generations and continue to be of benefit  to future generations’’. 

Informed sources told The Value News from the onset Jamoh, the NIMASA, boss may has known the task ahead of the agency with the establishment of the Deep Blue Project is very enormous which could not be handled alone by the agency but to carry long other military and para-military agencies in order to make it a huge success.This may have  informed  why he initiated the inter-agency Collaboration  in a bid to protect Nigerian’s maritime domain.

The assurance from the military and Para-military Chiefs visited may have emboldened Jamoh, the NIMASA boss, to restate the agency’s Commitment ‘’ to effective Management of the assets’’. It is not surprising why Maritime  analysts are optimistic  that story of the maritime security assets would not  be like  the  N50 billion   floating dock  procured from  the World ‘s  largest ship building   firms, Damen and their partners NIRDA, in Amsterdam, both in Ntherlands,  which has turned out to be a money guzzler since it was delivered to the agency by the ship builders in 2018. 

NIMASA Floating Dock Turned Drain Pipe

   An insider  told The Value News  that  it cost about  N3.6 million  on a daily basis  and over a N100 million  on a monthly   to effectively  maintain  and keep  the modular floating Dockyard running.   As a prelude to ensure that the security assets, both the Land, Sea and Air, would not eat deep into the purse of the  agency may have aligned  with the Military in the training of the personnel to pilot and maintain the equipment.

On Friday, August 13, 2021, 43  officers  and men of the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, who  had been trained  on how to handle the air assets under the Deep Blue Project were awarded their Certificates  at the Air Force  Base Hanger 301, Heavy Lift Group, Ikeja, Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre  in the presence of top Air Force personnel and the NIMASA  officials.   

Some of the trained NAF personnel, according  to Edward Osagie, an Assistant Director, in NIMASA, Public Relations , Department, who   received  their Certificates were  given  special trainings as Pilots  and Copilots for the Special Mission  aircraft for Surveillance operations in Nigerian, EEZ,   Special Mission Specific  Equipment Operators,  Special Mission , aircraft maintenance Technicians, Operators for  the unmanned aerial systems  while others received training  on the operation of the   Command, Control, Communication , Computer and Intelligence ,   C4i,  for the  effective Platform  manning.

Jamoh, DG NIMASA, And Other Digatories At The Ikeja NAF, Base, Hanger301, Heavy Lift Group

The successful training of the 43 NAF personnel, may  have informed why  the NIMASA boss, expressed his Appreciation  to the Isiaka Oladayo Amao, an Air Marshal  and Chief of Air Staff, COAS,  for their Commitment to the multi-million Deep Blue Project , with particular  reference  ‘’to providing the  facilities   for in the country  training of the Pilots and officers  to complete the training module   having  successfully  completed   the technical component abroad.

Giving an insider information on the project, an elated Jamoh  disclosed that’’ the progress made so far has been very encouraging’’ , stressing that ‘’ intelligence gathering  within the nation’s maritime domain  has reached great heights with the  recent video  evidence  of improper  ballast  water discharge in the nation’s waters’’ by an undisclosed shipping line , vessel.

There is no gainsaying the fact  that the Nigerian   Maritime Regulatory agency multi-million dollar, assets   is the first of its kind  in the West and Central  African Sub-region. This may have emboldened Jamoh and his Management Team’’,to do so many things at a  time  for the first time   as a Civilian  agency of government  and working closely  with the security agencies  to ensure a  success of the project.

  Note that at the graduation and presentation of Certificates to the NAF, 43 trained officers on various fields of aircraft management, The NIMASA,  Chief Executive officer, CEO, had told the Representative of the Air Force Chief,  JMD. Gwani, an Air Vice Marshall , who incidentally is the  Chief of Trainings and Operations and   P.P. Obeya, an Air Commodore and Commander, 301, HAG, that the agency ‘’Commitment to the Deep Blue Project is unflinching’’.

An Appreciative Air Marshal Amao who could  not hide his feelings  may have gladdened the heart of Jamoh, the NIMASA, helmsman, when  he disclosed  that   that the Deep Blue Project   has ‘’strategically repositioned  the Air Force   to provide an investment friendly environment through provision of adequate security in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea’’.

 An eyewitness account had told The Value News that Jamoh ,had left  the NAF, Base Hanger  301, heavy Lift Group , a fulfilled man  that he has found an answer to the Crewing and   maintenance of the Special Mission  aircrafts for Surveillance operations at the Nigerian EEZ, which many believe would be  at  a minimal cost of maintenance to the agency.

   The smiles on the face of Jamoh,  the NIMASA , CEO, and the other dignitaries during the presentation of the Certificates to the 43 Nigerian  Air Force Graduands,while taking pictures speaks volume.  ‘’It is a done deal’’, Jamoh’s body language  seems to have told  the NAF, top shots at the Ceremony  and a message to the sea thieves and Pirates operating in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea  that is no longer going to be business as usual.

Deep Blue Project Special Mission Vessel, Officers Traied To Crew And Maintain It.

The Presentation of Certificates to the 43 NAF personnel is coming  on the heels of the recent presentation of Certificates  to 30 other officers   who have been trained in Egypt and other parts of the world  on how  to Crew the Special Mission vessels, described as he main Component of the project.  The Crew of the Special Mission Vessels   were said to have been given Specialised training like those of the Air Force  and   terrain  familarisation  courses after the initial  technical training  abroad.

Recall  that the  Israeli firm, HLS International  Security Systems and Technologies Limited , which had won the $195 million  contract to supply the maritime security assets to NIMASA, for the Deep Blue Project had  another package  in the deal, to train  the security personnel that would man the maritime security equipment.  Anthony Ogadi,  Coordinator of the Deep Blue Project and  Director , Planning,  Research and Data Management,  had said that Crew of  the Special Mission Vessels  had nine Foreign and 10,  local trainings  n various Platforms  of the Project under the Supervision of the Israeli firm, HLS.

Note that Israeli firm, which had  won the Deep Blue Project contract, had trained  600 officers to Compliment  the officers drawn from  the military, Department of State Security, DSS,  Nigerian Police Force, NPF,  and the Nigerian  Civil Defence Commission, NCDC, who were said to have been  trained locally.  

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