Federal Government has secured some security assets to tackle insecurity on the Nigerian waterways, even as it suspended the controversial Secured Anchorage Area contract.
Addressing newsmen yesterday on the Deep Blue project, organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, assured stakeholders that the government was working to address the insecurity on the Nigerian waterways, adding that in the next few months, the issues of insecurity will be reduced if not eradicated.
He explained: “You will agree with us that there is insecurity upsurge in the country and it is becoming a bit alarming. I dont know how many of you can remember in 2016, we secured the approval of both Mr.President and the cabinent to introduce a maritime achitecture, which is coming to fruition.
“The isrealis will provide the training, the rest will be manned by Nigeria security, the Navy, the Army and the police. We thought that was the best way to go, even though it is within the domain of the Nigerian Navy. But we wanted other members of the armed forces to give them some support until we completely arrest the situation, before they can withdraw and allow the Navy to tak over.”
Speaking on the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA) operated by OMSL, Amaechi said the payment of the Secured Anchorage Contract was suspended because it is criminal and illegal to create anchorage for purpose of providing security.
“I took the decision to stop the Secure Anchorage project . The issue is that an individual can not protect a country. It shows that there is a failure in the system,” he addded.
Also speaking at the event, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Petersides, said that with the arrival of some interceptors vessels, insecurity would be reduced, while giving assurance that 80 per cent of the gadgets will arrive before June. He also corrected the notion that the isrealis would be the one to handle the waterways.
He explained: “First, let me correct the impression, which the Minister has done earlier, but let me further enhance that position, that we’re not handing over our waterways to the Isrealis to man.
“They are providing assets and the training or retraining of the armed forces, those who will man assets on our waterways.
“Now in terms of assets. six interceptor boats are in the country. The first special mission of vessel came into the country last December; the second special mission vessel will be in this country in February.”