Nigeria: NIMASA targets 100% piracy free 2017

February 7, 2017
Michael Cleary

This is as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recorded higher figures of revenue contribution to the economy in 2016, and boost in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Explaining the new security ratings of the agency in Port Harcourt, Sunday evening, Dakuku Peterside, director-general, NIMASA, said the rating had moved from 9 percent before the new board came on board to 97 percent at the end of 2016. Peterside, who was in Port Harcourt as part of a tour of NIMASA facilities in the zone (Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River), said the feat had shot Nigeria up to one of the top four nations in Africa. In the ‘Meet the Press’ with the NIMASA board, the director-general said the agency was prepared to host the US Coast Guards coming to assess Nigeria in April 2017. “NIMASA is determined and hopes to soar to at least 90 percent. Cases of piracy reduced in 2016 and so far in 2017, only one attempt is recorded and it was foiled too, by NIMASA and Navy vigilance. We want to hit 100 percent piracy-free year by end of 2017,” he said. He admitted that the change of fortunes in NIMASA with high security rating had attracted more investors into Nigeria’s maritime sector and boosted the Federal Government’s revenue base as well as the GDP of the nation in 2016. “The only regret is that though we increase in naira revenue but in terms of dollars, it gets lower due to depreciating foreign exchange rate,” he said. Giving reasons why piracy is down, he enumerated five action points that made the magic. “Surveillance: We have installed gadgets that make us see all our coastal waters at the same time. It helps us to see whatever is happening. Intelligence gathering: We have increased our intelligence gathering efforts and built a mechanism to monitor things,” he said. Peterside also mentioned closer collaboration with the Nigerian Navy and the navies of other neighbouring countries. “The Nigerian Navy also has systems that allow them see every part of our coastal waters just as we do. The moment any ship gets into Nigerian waters, we see it and the Navy can also see it. In the event of any suspicion, we alert the Navy immediately. The other neighbouring navies are also alerted in case the pirates try to cross to any country: Togo, Cameroon, Benin Republic (Cotonou), etc.” Response capability is also another factor that has improved security in Nigeria’s coastal waters. “We have achieved fast response capability and with the Navy, we can do more,” he said. A new law is coming soon to fortify the legal aspect of the war against piracy. “We have packaged what we regard as Anti Piracy Bill to fortify the laws used in fighting piracy. It is going to be the first in Africa. It has passed through the Ministry of Justice and will be an Executive Bill.” Answering a question on fleeing Government Ekpumodo, alias Tompolo and his Global West Nigeria Limited, he said: “These achievements were not recorded with Global West Nigeria, the firm was licensed by the past administration to police the water ways. The company is under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), though the contract is not terminated.” Nigeria is destination of at least 65 percent of shipping heading to Africa from Europe, he said, but this makes it imperative for Nigeria to have a string voice in international trade because over 90 percent of international trade is moved by shipping. He enumerated actions so far taken and being contemplated to recapture shipping.

SOURCE: Businessdayonline

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