The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has raised the alarm over Somalian pirates invasion of the nation’s territorial waters.
Jamoh stated this when the new Consul-General of the Korean Embassy, Kang Haenggu, and Ambassador Designate of Belgium, Daniel Bertrand, paid him courtesy calls at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos, where the two envoys pledged more support for NIMASA in its drive to enhance trade and security in Nigerian maritime domain.
However, addressing the South Korean and Belgian delegations at separate meetings, Jamoh said investigation had revealed that Somali pirates were now active in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea. He said the pirates often navigated through Nigeria’s maritime boundaries, and sometimes came through the land borders. Jamoh who said the Maritime Intelligence Unit, recently established by NIMASA to help nip maritime crimes in the bud through identification of early warning signs, revealed a relationship between crimes in the Nigerian maritime domain and the Somali pirates.
Speaking further, Jamoh expressed NIMASA’s determination to curb criminal attacks in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, adding that the Nigerian government placed high premium on safety and security of shipping in its waters and the Gulf of Guinea, and had invested heavily in maritime security infrastructure.
To confront the menace of maritime criminality head-on, Jamoh said, “Nigeria has made huge investments in the establishment of a comprehensive maritime security infrastructure. The Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, is designed to secure our waters, up to the Gulf of Guinea.
“The project is nearing completion, with more than 80 per cent of the assets, comprising Special Mission Vessels, Fast Intervention Boats, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and Armoured Vehicles, already in the country.”
Meanwhile, the envoys acknowledged the security challenge in the Gulf of Guinea and promised to support Nigeria’s efforts to improve security in its waters.
However, Haenggu and Bertrand, in their separate submissions, pledged their determination to improve ties between their respective countries and Nigeria in shipping development and maritime security.
Haenggu hailed the “strong working relationship” between the Korean Embassy and NIMASA, saying he looks forward to continuing it. And Bertrand said his priority was to promote commerce between his country and Nigeria.