The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has called for the deployment of inter-agency resources to secure Nigeria’s maritime domain and check rising cases of piracy.
The statement by the Head, Public Relations Department of NIMASA, Hajia Lami Tumaka, on Friday in Lagos, said that the director-general made the call when he visited the Air Force Headquarters in Abuja.
According to the statement, Peterside was at the Air Force Headquarters to seek collaborative ways of dealing with the rising cases of piracy in Nigerian waters.
He requested the immediate review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which the agency had with the Nigerian Air Force.
The director –general said this would strengthen the agency’s capacity to deal with maritime crimes and reduce the response time for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
He commended the Nigerian Air Force and indeed the military for the successful prosecution of the war against insurgency in the North East.
The director-general said, “Now Nigeria can begin to discuss developmental issues for the good of all its citizens.’’
He explained that maritime security needed a multi-sectoral and inter-agency collaboration.
Peterside called on relevant stakeholders to pool resources together to defeat piracy and other maritime crimes for the economic prosperity of the nation.
He pledged the commitment of NIMASA to partner with the Nigerian Air Force in order to fight the economic crime and reposition Nigeria as a major hub for maritime activities in the West and Central Africa sub-region.
Responding, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said that the Air Force could deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) attached with cameras.
He said these would be in addition to its fleet of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to enhance the surveillance of the Nigerian maritime domain.
Abubakar said that the Air Force had several senior officers with competence in aeronautic engineering.
He said that the Force had produced a prototype already in use, adding that the Air Force was ready to build capacity of some of its personnel to handle UAVs.
The CAS called for the assistance of NIMASA and other relevant stakeholders for the mass production of the UAVs.
Abubakar pledged the support of the Nigerian Air Force to partner with NIMASA to deal with maritime crimes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NIMASA and the Nigerian Air Force had endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding, where the Air Force is expected to provide air surveillance of the maritime domain.
The Force is also expected to provide support to the NIMASA’s Search and Rescue operations, among others.