THE Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) have initiated move to strengthen the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they signed few years ago in order to renew their onslaught against pirates and oil thieves, in compliance with the recent Presidential directive.
To this effect, top officials from the two organisations met, over the weekend, in Lagos to fashion out a new approach that would put an end to the insurgence of pirates and oil thieves within the country’s territorial waters.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Joseph Ezeoba, told newsmen at NIMASA headquarters in Lagos over the weekend that there was the need to redefine the MoU between the two organisations in order to put in place a stronger platform needed to stamp out maritime piracy and oil theft from the Nigerian waters.
He said his visit to NIMASA was informed by the determination to comply fully with the fresh presidential directivethat maritime piracy, sea robbery and all forms of illegalities within the Nigeria’s maritime domain be put to an end within the shortest possible time.
The directive, he said, was handed down to the Naval high command, when he was being appointed to lead the Nigerian Navy by the President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan recently.
Besides, strengthening the existing MoU between the two organisations, the Naval Chief said his visit to NIMASA was to open initial discussions with the agency on how to synergise in order to actualise the mandate.
According to him, he sought a redefinition of the existing MoU between the two organisations, adding that with the meeting, he was sure that a culture of safety of navigation would be established henceforth on the Nigerian waters.
Earlier, the Director-General of NIMASA, Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi said the Navy and his agency had since taken a critical look at the MoU.
According to him, the new move by the two organizations would assist the Navy to satisfactorily protect the Nigerian territorial waters and to ensure safety of navigation.
He said it also raise the capacity of the maritime guard command by providing it with more personnel, equipment (military hardware) that would boost its ability to respond to emergency within the country’s maritime domain.
He specifically asked the Naval chief to provide the command with a patrol boat to be manned by Naval personnel, while the day-to-day management and other neccessary maintenance of the boat would be the responsibility of his agency.
According to the NIMASA boss, a secured Nigerian waters would clean up the bad image maritime piracy has brought to Nigeria at international level, boost trade with other countries to enhance NIMASA’s revenue collection drive.
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