UNODC commends NIMASA, Navy over sustained efforts in fight against maritime crime

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has commended the Federal Government and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for sustained efforts in fighting maritime crime.

The office also commended the Nigerian Navy for its role.

The Country Representative of the UNODC Nigeria, Oliver Stolpe, made the commendation at the four-day Inter-Agency Expert Consultative Dialogue Session, on Tuesday in Lagos.

The session which started on Monday, was for the implementation plan of Nigeria’s draft National Maritime Strategy, organised in collaboration with  the Danish Government.

Stolpe noted that considering the first six-month report of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) for 2021, released in July, there had been an overall decline in reported incidents in the Gulf of Guinea.

He added that this had been attributed to the sustained and collective efforts of the regional and international Navies, regional organisations, as well as the National Maritime Security Agencies.

”I commend in particular, the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project.

”This project is being implemented by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as well as the Nigerian Navy’s increased presence within the maritime domain,” he said.

He said UNODC in Nigeria supports the process of ensuring that the maritime security strategy is in place and operational.

Also speaking, the Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Sune Krogstrup, said the Danish Government is currently supporting programmes for longer-term institutional strengthening of maritime governance.

He stated that this was under the Danish Gulf of Guinea Maritime Security Programme.

Krogstrup noted that it would be facilitated through intensified regional capabilities, as well as capacities for maritime domain awareness and response.

”The development of national maritime strategies is key to long-term maritime governance where security and everything is guaranteed,” he said.

Mr Ashibel Utsu, Director, Airforce, Ministry of Defence, said that the maritime environment provided a critical pathway for international commerce and socio-economic interaction between many countries in the world.

He further stated that the maritime domain served as a gateway for the importation of goods into Nigeria and other landlocked countries in West Africa.

”Nigeria and other Gulf of Guinea member states are committed to improving safety and security in the region.

”The Deep Blue Project and the investment in the acquisition of more patrol vessels and aircraft for the Nigerian Navy, is an attestation to this commitment on the part of Nigeria,” he said.

The Federal Government in 2015, inaugurated a committee made up of several maritime stakeholders within the public and private spheres, to work on drafting a National Maritime Strategy.

The vision of the National Maritime Strategy is to support Nigeria’s economic prosperity, growth and development, through the sustainable use of the nation’s maritime resources in a safe and secure environment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event provided a platform to undertake a proper articulation of the implementation framework.

It is also to obtain practical consensus on the institutional arrangement for the operationalisation of the National Maritime Strategy. (NAN)