By Stephen Ubanna
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has never had it so good in the management of the Nigerian Coast Guard Command than under the current Administration of Bshir Jamoh.
The Nigerian government may have provided the ammunition for past and present Management of NIMASA, to reposition the Nigerian Coast Guard to be more relevant with the domestication of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, ISPS, described as a major component of the security architecture in the country’s maritime space.
Many had expected a former Chief Executive officer, CEO, of the agency at 2014, that the ISPS, was domesticated to have reviewed the arrangement of the Nigerian Coast Guard to become more effective as obtained in the North American country of the United States, US and other parts of the world but failed to do so.
.Jamoh may have taken advantage of the vacuum created in the review of the Coast Guard modus Operandi to do it. He may have studied the Operations and functioning of the Coast Guard and the South Korea International Affairs, which is the country’s Coast Guard, to guard the Administration in the review of the country’s Coast Guard Command that the Nigerian Navy has come out fully to identify with it with the appointment tested officers to head it.
The involvement of the Nigerian Navy in the running of the Nigerian Coast Guard between 2020 and now, is so pronounced that a visitor to NIMASA’s office at Apapa would think that the agency has a Naval Department with the parade of officers.
Many believe that Jamoh’s repositioning of the Coast Guard Command had made it more attractive to the Leadership of the Navy. This may have informed why past and present Chief of Naval Staff have ensured that only the officers who have distinguished themselves in the discharge of their duties in previous national assignments are appointed to the Command because of its importance to the Nigerian maritime space.
The latest to be appointed to head the Nigerian Coast Guard under the control and supervision of NIMASA is Aliyu Gaya, a Naval Commodore. He was said to replaced Commodore Ezekiel Nyako Lamiri, who has been redeployed to the Nigerian Defense Academy, Kaduna.
Until his appointment, Commodore Gaya was the Director of ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Center, Zone E, based in Cotonou, capital of Republic of Benin. Naval sources disclosed that he has held other military and command postings in various Naval Commands within and outside Nigeria which qualifies him to head the NIMASA controlled Gigerian Coast Guard Command.
Going by his profile, Commodore Gaya holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry an Masters degree in Defence Management Command and Strategy. Also, he holds a certificate in Maritime Security and Transnational Organised Crime course from the Koffi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center Accra, Ghana.
Given an insider information, the NIMASA, Director General, had said that the Maritime Guard Command was a ‘’product of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy to foster a closer working relationship between both organs of Government in securing the Nigerian Maritime domain’’.
Recall that he has repeatedly said that ‘’ the Agency’s commitment to continuous collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and other arms of the Nigerian Armed Forces to secure the country’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea by extension will not be compromises. He has kept to his words going by the support of past and present Chiefs of Naval Staff, CNS, to the agency.
The recent remark of the NIMASA, CEO, concerning the support from the Nigerian Naval personnel which has forced many unrepentant Prates and kidnappers, operating in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea , to go underground or relocate to other countries, particular, Ghana and Gabon, speaks volume.
Hear him:The Agency will like to appreciate the Nigerian Navy for keeping with its tradition of always deploying very competent officers to the NIMASA Maritime Guard Command and ensuring safer maritime boundaries to the benefit of the country and the international community
. He may have alluded to the fact that the anti-piracy war has taken a new dimension in the country and the Gulf of Guinea, with the arrests of pirates and kidnappers who have been tried under the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences,SPOMO, Act and subsequently sentenced. The message was very clear that without the support of the Navy, whose personnel are patrolling Nigerian waters and the Gulf or Guinea, on a daily basis, these could not have been possible.
At present the Nigerian Navy is fully involved in the Deep blue project domiciled in NIMASA as it has been assigned the responsibility of operating and operating the 16 Armoured vehicles for coastal patrol, 17 Fast Interceptor boats and Two Special Vessels while the Nigerian Air Force , controls Two Special Mission aircrafts, for Surveillance of Nigerian Economic Zone, EEC, Three Special Mission Helicopters and Four unmanned Aerial vehicles. The Federal government had spent $195 million, to procure, the Deep Blue projects security items.