By Stephen Ubanna
When Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and who is incidentally the President of Chartered Institute of the Transport Administration of Nigeria, CIOTA, visited Mohammed Adamau, a one –time Inspector General of Police, IGP, he had stressed the need for enhanced Collaboration amongst the maritime –related security agencies in tackling maritime security challenges in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, GoG.
He had also taken the same message of collaboration in his first one year in office to other maritime related agencies including the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, and the Nigerian Army.
At present, the Navy, the Air Force, and the army have been fully integrated into the Deep Blue Project, with the Navy and AirForce, controlling the sea and air , maritime security assets of the project respectivelt. Take for instance, the Navy, under the close watch of Awwal Zubairu Gambo, a Vice Admiral, operates and maintains the Project 16 armoured Vehicles, for Coastal Patrol 17 Fast Interceptor Boats and Two Special Mission Vessels, for Surveillance of Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, while the Air Force controls the air assets comprising of two Special Mission aircrafts, three Special Mission Helicopters, for Search and Rescue Operations and four Armoured Marine Vehicles. The army was part of the 600 Specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Marine Security Unity, MSU, but the Force Maritime Police, which ought to be part of the MSU were not integrated into it.
Informed security sources told The Value News that Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, who may have been briefed by Adamu, his predecessor, on how far, he has gone with the discussion with the NIMASA, Director General for integration of the Marine Police into the Project to join in the fight against maritime Crime in all its facets in Nigerian waters and the GoG.
The NIMASA boss may have had had it at the back of his mind that the Marine Police , which activities concentrate more on the country’s maritime domain will be supported with its security assets and strengthened Partnership in the fight against maritime Crime,
Jamoh may have taken advantage of the CIOTA recent Conference in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to hold a closed door meeting with the IGP, on the plan ‘’to extend the ongoing Collaboration of the Maritime Regulatory agency is having with the other security agencies under the Deep Blue Project to the maritime unit and provision of Patrol Boat supports’’. The meeting was said to have had in attendance other senior Police Officers, including Garba Umar, an Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, who is the Head of National Bureau of Interpol in Nigeria and recently elected Vice President of Interpol for Africa.
The duo were said to have identified and applauded the reduction of Piracy attacks and sea robbery in Nigerian waters and the GoG, , which has been recognised by the International Community, International Maritime Organisation, IMO and the International Maritime Bureau, IMB. They were said to have identified the need for enhanced ‘’policing of the nation’s brown waters’’.
Jamoh, had said that NIMASA, is seeking close integration and collaboration of the Nigerian Marine Police into its recently Launched waterways security architecture, Deep Blue Project, ‘’to achieve an all-encompassing outcome stretching from the blue waters where it already have the Naval personnel presence to the brown waters near the anchorage areas where the Nigeria marine Police statutorily have a role to play to stem the tide of insecurity and checkmate the activities of sea robbers against berthing ships and seafarers’’. The NIMASA helmsman had said on Tuesday, December at the CIOTA Conference that all the 27 incidents of armed attack and Piracy between May and July, 2021,three were against the vessels in the anchorages.
While urging all the Parties to maximize the use of Technology in monitoring the nation’s waters, the NIMASA Director General had commended the on-going integration of the agency’s Command , Control Computer Communication Center, and information system, C4i, located at its Resource center in Kirikiri with’’ the Falcon of the Navy and marine Police’s 247 for easy coordination and intelligence sharing’’.
Describing the marine Police as a ‘’strategic Partner whose operation and support are essential for attaining and improving on the gain already recorded in the anti-piracy drive and safety of small crafts’’ in Nigerian waters, the NIMASA Director General noted that that the Police is ‘’critical in helping to prosecute suspects arrested under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime – Offences, SPOMO, Law.
Edward Osagie, an Assistant Director, overseeing the agency’s Public Relations Department, had said the Police Chief, commended the present NIMASA Management’s efforts to have reduced Piracy and sea robbery in Nigerian waters to the lowest level in the recent time and reiterated ‘’the resolve of the Force to fight crimes all over the country, including the territorial waters.
The Police IGP, who could not hide his feelings had described the marine Police, which he is soliciting to be integrated into the Deep Blue Project as a very ‘’important arm of the Force considering the strategic importance of the waters ‘’to the economic and social well-being of the country’’.
Industry stake holders had commended Jamoh, for his enterprising moves to resolve maritime crime in Nigerian waters at all cost by ensuring that all maritime –related security agencies , including the Force Marine Police, are integrated into the maritime security unit that had been Launched by the agency.
They believed that if past Director Generals of the Maritime regulatory agency have been proactive in their action’s in the agency, the situation in Nigerian waters may not have been that bad before Jamoh mounted the saddle on March 10, 2020.