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.
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.
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.