17th August, 2012
The Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziakede Akpobolokemi, has raised alarm over the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the nation’s coastal waters.
According to him, NIMASA would not fold its hands and watch such illegality but would go to any level to unravel those behind the importation of the ammunitions.
Akpobolokemi stated at the NIMASA organised Stakeholders’ Breakfast Meeting in Lagos that policing the nation’s territorial waters was crucial to the maritime administration, adding that that is why the agency entered into Private-Public Partnership to ensure the safety and security on Nigerian waterways.
“The number of arms and ammunition coming into the country through our waters is alarming and there is need for NIMASA to know those responsible for their importation. We want to sanitise the Nigerian waters to ensure that the nation is safe from proliferation of arms and ammunition,” he said.
The NIMASA boss said that government alone cannot solve the problem of piracy due to the paperwork and the bureaucracy that projects of such nature are usually subjected to, noting that “an agency that is involved in search and rescue operation, that is involved in emergency anytime anywhere must not subscribe to the civil service way of doing things. There should be some creativity.”
According to the DG, taking delivery of four 1,200 Horse power engine boats would ensure adequate policing of the Nigerian waterways.
Each of the boats namely; NIMASA Lagos, NIMASA Port Harcourt, NIMASA Warri and NIMASA Burutu, were acquired by Global West Vessel Specialist Limited as part of the subsisting Memorandum of Understanding between the company and the apex maritime regulatory agency.
He explained that the acquisition of the boats is to enable NIMASA to go back to fulfilling its mandate, maritime security and a pollution free environment.“