The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has undertaken surveillance training for some security agencies to jointly rid the waters of criminality.
The surveillance training was to equip the officers of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), and NIMASA, on the C4I Integrated Surveillance Systems operation. The system is expected to aid the coordinated view of the entire Nigerian maritime domain.
The Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, at the graduation ceremony held at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre (NMRDC), in Lagos, yesterday, restated the government's determination to ensure that Nigeria's territorial waters was free of piracy, and all forms of maritime crime to facilitate economic development.
Peterside added that the NIMASA C4I Integrated Surveillance Systems operation, organised in conjunction with an Israeli security firm, HLSi Security Systems and Technologies Limited, was another step towards building human capacity for the maritime industry, particularly the deep sea project.
"As part of our efforts towards tackling piracy and other maritime crimes, which continue to constitute threats to vessels plying our territorial waters, the C4I System Operator Course is a part of the 'Total Maritime Security Strategy' adopted under this management to give us the best eye view of our domain. This will ultimately halt insecurity in order to ensure that our maritime industry optimises its potential of contributing majorly to Nigeria's economic growth," he said.
While noting that crime free waters would further boost the investment opportunities in the nation's blue economy, Peterside added that the Agency is aware of the issues that made the Gulf of Guinea one of the most challenging maritime domains in terms of security.
This, he said, was why NIMASA is attacking the issue on all fronts, including sponsoring a bill that will make cases relating to piracy and other sea crimes to be decisively dealt with to serve as a deterrent to potential perpetrators.
He added that effective surveillance would aid quick response time to crime scenes, especially with the Agency's possession of fast intervention vessels, which would encourage investors and make the Nigerian maritime sector an investment hub.
The Nigerian Representative of HLSI, Mickey Gaash, commended the participants for their exemplary conduct during the programme, saying the training was the first in the series, and would be followed by advanced training on surveillance
He also commended the NIMASA management for its dedication and commitment to ending piracy, not only in the Nigerian territorial waters, but also in the entire Gulf of Guinea.
The first batch of 22 graduates from the programme, who are to proceed to the intelligence gathering stage of the training schedule, were selected from all the participating armed forces branches and security agencies including the Army, Navy, Air Force, DSS and NIMASA.