By Stephen Ubanna
Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency , NIMASA, says the agency cannot achieve its statutory responsibility of mainting Nigerian maritime domain to rid it of piracy and Criminal elements without the support of the Nigerian Navy.
He is right. The first set of 27 arrested suspected pirates to be prosecuted under the country’s anti-piracy Law signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 1919 by the Maritime Regulatory agency were said to have been made by the Navy and handed over to the agency in the spirit of inter-agency relationship.
Jamoh, who could not hide his feelings when Frederick Ogu, a Rear Admiral and Flag Officer, Coomanding, Naval Training Command, paid him a courtesy call in his Apapa office recently, was emphatic: NIMASA was not an armed Organisation and could not achieve its mandate without the support of the Nigerian Navy.
An appreciative NIMASA Director General said the good working relationship between the agency and the Navy predated the Memorandum of Understanding , MoU, that gave birth to the establishment of the Maritime Guard Command, manned by Naval Officers and domiciled in the agency.
This may have informed why the NIMASA boss revealed that ‘’plans have advanced stage to harmonise the training procedures of NIMASA and the Nay for improved safety and security of the country’s maritime space’’.Jamoh, who had been privy to the agency’s budgetary allocation to training programme over the last four years, said a large chunk of it went into the training of its workforce.
Giving an insider information to the training programme, he disclosed that the agency has what it call ‘’non-staff educational assistance’’, which is also geared towards building capacity for thenations’s maritime sector. This may have facilitated its investment in the training Naval personnel whenever the opportunity and the need arise. Insiders informed The Value News that scores of Naval personnel had benefited from the agency training programmme over the last couple of years at no cost to the Nigeria Navy.
At present, the agency, it was gathered is looking at the direction of the Naval facilities and how to harmonise the training guidelines to meet the standards required by the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, under the close watch of Kitack Lim, for Certification. That much was confirmed by the NIMASA Director General.
The multi-million dollar Deep Blue Project , known in maritime circles as the Integrated National and Waterways Infrastructure, may have encouraged the NIMASA officials to think of harmonising its training programme with the NAAVY to Comprehensively tackle insecurity on Nigeria waters and the exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Gulf of Guinea.
He may have gladdened the Naval Chief when he confirmed that most of the Deep Blue Project assets are already in the country.The Israeli security Company, handling the $195 million project was said to have supplied two Special Mission vessels, 14 out of the 17 Fast intervention vessels,14 out of the 17 Special aarmoured vehicles among others. The NIMASA, boss was said to have told the Flag Officer that that the Special Mission vessels and aircraft would be manned and Commanded by Officers of the Nigerian Navy.
He had pointed out that that had been little delay in the deployment of the Special Mission vessels and aircraft as the training component could only be done outside the shores of the country. He blamed the delay in the training programme to the Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus , popular COVID 19 which forestalled International Flight operations across the globe.
Ogu, who was appointed the Flag Officer of the Naval Training Command last June by the Naval High Command may have realised the importance of the training programme that he had stressed the need for NIMASA and the Navy’’ to work closely together in training and other fronts’’.
He alluded to the fact that the Navy already have an existing MoU with NIMASA, which makes it easier for them to relate on all fronts. He noted that the importance of agency to Naval trainings cannot be ‘’overestimated’’ They are the ones who issue Certificates for our basic mandatory and survival at sea ’’, he had said. He corroborated Jamoh’s views that there is need for the two sister agencies ‘’to harmonise their training methods to further enhance their capacity’’.
The Flag Officer, disclosed that that the Navy has training facilities are available to both Civilians and military personnel, urging Nigerians who are willing to take up a career in the maritime sector to take advantage of the Naval facilities across the country to do so.