Maritime: NIMASA Moves To Empower Littoral Communities, Partners PAP As It Installs And Deploys HLS Security Assets For Operations In Nigeria Waters And The GoG

By Stephen Ubanna

 Bashir Jamoh, Director General , Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA,  who has occupied himself  in the fight  against Piracy and other Criminal activities in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea since his assumption of office in March , 2020,  appears to have won the heart  of Milland Dixon Dikio, a retired army Colonel and Interim Sole Administrator,   Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP.

Jamoh may have won the heart of the PAP Interim Sole Administrator, who is an indigene of the oil-rich Bayelsa state because  of his promise ‘’to  introduce   Educational, Entrepreneurship  training,  and Skills Acquisition Programmes, in the areas of fishing , Clearing and Forwarding, and  legal bunkering as a way of empowering  the littoral Communities  and discouraging Criminal activities in the Niger Delta region.

The retired army Colonel, who could not hide his feelings had advised the NIMASA Authorities that ‘’the training Programme  that are  being planned by the Maritime Regulatory agency in  the nine states of the Niger Delta: Akwa Ibom, Cross river, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Ondo , Imo  and Abia states  should ‘’target at projects  that are relevant to the people  in order to impact on  them  directly  and get to the root of the problem of the crisis in the region’’. 

  Describing the NIMASA Director General as a ‘’man of visision’’, who is  Committed   to ending maritime insecurity in the Niger  Delta  , the PAP boss  has ‘’expressed the willingness of the agency  to partner with the Jamoh led NIMASA, in the empowerment of the locals’’.   This may have informed why he has suggested that ‘’the people’s knowledge  of the local Communities should be leveraged in the area of information gathering’’ by the agency to execute their laudable programmes in the region.

He was said to have also suggested  the appointment of  nodal officers  from  both PAP and NIMASA,’’ to interface and harmonise their action points  to fast-track  the actualization  of the partnership   arrangement  for the overall good  of the nation’s maritime sector’’.  

Recall that the NIMASA, Director General who has a passion  for inter-agency  Coordination and Collaboration   in tackling insecurity in the nation’s maritime domain  for much of last year had taken it upon himself to bring together all the Chief Executives of the government agencies which are maritime related.

Jamoh: DG, NIMASA And A Man Of Vision

This may have given opportunity to meet with Ibok –Ete Ekwe Ibas, a Vice Admiral and Chief of Naval Staff,  Sadiq Abybakar,  an Air Marshall and Chief of Air Staff, Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP,  and Hameed Ali, a retired army Colonel and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service.  He was said to have also met  with Mohammed Bbandede, Comptroller General, Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS.  He has a message to all of them:  the  need to close ranks and work  together   in partnership  to help the agencies    appreciate and  evaluate  the Challenges  in tackling  Piracy and Criminality in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea   from their various  perspectives and Collectively come  up with  solutions that  would work  for the  country’’ in the actualization of the dream.

 Another reason  why he may have taken it upon himself to rally together all the Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, of the maritime related agencies   may not be unconnected to the  Integrated National Security  and Water Ways Protection  Infrastructure or  Deep Blue  project  in which the government had spent $195 million  to  engage the services of the Israeli security firm,  HLS Security Systems and Technologies  Limited, to supply  security equipment    to enhance  the  security of the nation’s maritime domain.

  The maritime assets are to be used to provide security to provide security at  the anchorage area, where all vessels  calling the  Lagos and south east ports berth. He had appealed to the maritime related agencies  the CEOs, on the need for Collaboration.  They were said to have welcomed the  bold  initiatives of the NIMASA, Director General and agreed  to  Cooperate with him  in order  to tackle the common enemy: the pirates and other sea thieves.

This may have informed why he had  told Dikio, the Interim Sole Administrator, PAP, when he met  with him in his office at Abuja recently , that  ‘’security problem  more often than not  have a local content’’, noting that as ‘’the   agency partner  with PAP, which interfaces with the  littoral Communities to  nip the security Challenges in the bud in the Delta region, ‘’ it will stand the nation  in  good  stead   for the optimization  of the county’s huge maritime resources’’.

 He may have  made  it clear to the Bayelsa state born PAP  Interim  Sole Administrator,  that the Maritime Regulator agency  ‘cannot’’ proffer solution to  the issues of crisis  in the Niger Delta without   the Collaboration  of PAP’’, who has knowledge of the local Communities in the littoral state. He may have gladdened the heart of the PAP Chief Executive Officer, CEO,  when he disclosed that the agency   had established  a ‘’Maritime Intelligence Unit to help in the Identification  of early  warning signs  in crisis areas in order  to prevent security breaches in thee littoral states.

Dikio: Interim Sole Administrator, PAP

The NIMASA boss  had  made the PAP  CEO, to understand that many of the security assets that had been supplied to the agency by HLS, the Israeli security firm which won the $195 million contract to supply the assets in 2017,   are currently being installed  and deployed  for operations  under the Integrated  National Security and Water Ways  Protection Infrastructure or  Deep Blue  project.  He had said that  the’ ’security equipment,   are fitted with’’ intelligence gathering capabilities through land, air and sea surveillance’’, which is bad news to the sea thieves.  

The maritime assets that were said to have been the supplied by the Israeli firm to the agency   between 2019 and 2020, as  confirmed by the NIMASA boss include   two Umanned  Aerial Vehicles, UAV, and two Special Mission Vessels.  This is in addition   to the 17 fast Interceptors  Boats and 15  armoured  vehicles.

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