As part of efforts at ensuring a safe maritime industry ,the Federal Government has inaugurated a thirteen member Inter-Agency Maritime Operations Coordination Committee (IMOCC).The Committee aimed at providing synergy among agencies operating in the industry, was inaugurated Tuesday, at the Council Chambers, State House, Abuja, by Vice President Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo on behalf of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
The Vice President, who said the committee was part of the Administration’s efforts at providing comprehensive security for the maritime sector considering its importance to economic growth, lamented the lack of synergy among the various agencies operating there, saying “this has unfortunately led to gaps, which criminal elements have taken advantage of to perpetrate illegal activities.”
He charged all agencies in the industry to shun rivalry and embrace cooperation and collaboration, as there was an inextricable linkage between maritime security and national prosperity.
VP Sambo further tasked Committee members to be sensitive to some operational guidelines, which he enumerated as; the need for a Robust Electronic Surveillance System; pull together platforms from all relevant agencies to establish physical presence and contact on Nigeria’s waters and with vessels and; engage in regular collation and analysis of information from agencies operating in the maritime industry.
He also charged them to provide monthly report on the status of the Maritime sector to the Presidency.
In his remark the Chairman of the Committee, Rear Admiral Ogbo of the Nigerian Navy, assured the Vice President that the members would bring their experiences to bear in the discharge of their national duty, and in producing a workable solution that would serve as a template in realising a safe and secured maritime domain.
Other members of the Committee include: Mr. M.S Nagogo; Barr. Buhari Bello; Mrs. O.O Moore; Air Comdr. Jalingo Atiku; ACP Friday Ibadin; Mr. Shehu Ahmed; Mr E. I. Edorhe; Comptroller Kevin Vongman; Engr Philip Chukwu; Capt. Warrendi Enisuoh; Jamil Muktar Tahir; and Engr. O.O Balogun.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee are: Identify and address factors that have sustained illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the Petroleum Industry; identify and address the factors that enable illegal entry of ships into Nigerian waters; examine the problem of importation of contrabands through the sea and proffer solution; examine the common phenomenon of non-compliance with domesticated international convections and local maritime laws and make appropriate recommendations; study factors responsible for the failure to implement the Local Content and Cabotage laws in the Maritime sector and recommend measures to address the situation; design a framework for collaboration among relevant government agencies in the sector and; suggest other measures that will enable the achievement of government’s objectives for Maritime sector in the vision 20: 2020.
Present at the occasion were the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar and other top government functionaries.
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