The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, says the agency is determined to support and strengthen partnership with the police in fighting maritime crimes.
According to a statement by Mr Ubon Essien, Special Assistant to the director general which was released in Port Harcourt, Jamoh gave the assurance at a meeting with the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba in Abuja.
He promised to extend the ongoing collaboration between NIMASA and other security agencies under the Deep Blue Project to the marine unit of the police in areas of capacity building and provision of patrol support.
Jamoh noted that there had been a reduction in piracy attacks in the blue waters, as confirmed by notable international bodies, including the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
The director-general stressed the need for enhanced policing of the nation’s brown waters.
He said NIMASA would support the marine police in areas of training, retraining, supply of kits, and other necessary gadgets to enhance their patrol around creeks, quayside, harbours and other navigable areas in the nation’s maritime domain.
He said: “NIMASA is seeking close integration and collaboration of the Nigerian Marine Police into our recently launched waterways security architecture, Deep Blue Project.
“This is to achieve an all-encompassing outcome stretching from the blue waters where we already have the Nigerian Navy’s presence to the brown waters near the anchorage areas where the Nigerian Police statutorily have a role to stem the tide of insecurity and checkmate criminal activities against berthing ships and seafarers.”
Jamoh said there was ongoing integration of NIMASA’s Command, Control Computer Communication and Information System (C4i) located at its resource center in Kirikiri with the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy and a similar police facility, for easy coordination and intelligence sharing.
The director-general urged all the parties to maximize the use of the technology in monitoring the waters.
Jamoh described the Nigeria police as a strategic partner whose operation and support were essential for sustaining and improving on the gains already recorded in the anti-piracy drive and safety of small crafts.
He said police capacity to support rescue operations in case of boat mishaps would also be enhanced under the renewed partnership.
Jamoh added that the police were critical in helping to prosecute suspects arrested under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) law.
Responding, the inspector general of police commended NIMASA’s efforts under its present management and reiterated the resolve of the force to fight crimes all over the country, including in the territorial waters.
Baba described the marine police 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.
The meeting had in attendance other senior police officers, including Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Garba Umar, Head, National Central Bureau of Interpol in Nigeria. (NAN)