US moves to curb oil theft, piracy in Gulf of Guinea
As part of its determination to help Nigeria curb the incidence of pirate attacks and sea robbery on Nigerian bound ships, the government of United States of America, is concluding arrangements to actively assist Nigeria and her West African neighbours in line with its bi-national commission agreement with Nigerian government.
Consequent upon this, the US government has also perfected plans to hand over another warship to Nigerian Navy so as to complement the joint efforts of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Navy in the fight against illegalities in the nation’s territorial waterways.
Presenting a welcome address to the visiting Senate and House Committee members on Marine Transport in the Embassy of Nigeria in Washington DC at the weekend, Ade Adefuye, who disclosed that Nigeria is receiving a lot of corporation from America to boost regional and internal security challenges that are confronting the nation’s economy, said that Nigeria would before the end of May, take delivery of another warship from America to complement the NNS thunder that was given to Nigerian Navy in the past.
To him, the donation of the warship is in line with the implementation of the regional security agreement, which is the fourth aspect of the bi-national commission agreement that Nigeria signed with the Obama regime.
Responding to this, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, chairman, House Committee on Marine Transport, who was the leader of National Assembly delegation to US on capacity building on the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, commended the efforts of the Nigerian ambassador to US in helping Nigeria to get a second flagship, which according to him, would be used in combating the security threats in the nation’s coastline.
According to him, international support in the fight against terrorism would not only help Nigeria to rise above the security challenges confronting the country, it would also help to properly position Nigeria as the leading economy in Africa as well as the sixth largest economy in the world.
The capacity building participated by the National Assembly members, he noted, has helped in equipping the members with the essential universal standards in maritime security as stipulated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), so as to position them in contributing appropriately towards the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.
In addition to this, Gyang Pwajok, a member of the delegates, who expressed worries over the rising incidences of illegal oil bunkering as well as oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea, also solicited for the support of American Government in putting an end to the illegal act that has been eating deep into the nation’s economy.
“Nigeria needs international collaboration from countries to put an end to the existing markets for stolen oils. This is because if there is no market for stolen oil, the perpetrators of the ugly acts would have no choice other than to put an end to it. And in doing this, it would create an avenue for Nigerians to effectively enjoy the nation’s natural resources,” the senator added.
Patrick Akpobolokemi, the director general of NIMASA, stated that the agency had resolved to implement the stipulations of the ISPS Code so as to ensure quality security of ships and cargoes at the port. The NIMASA boss, who was represented by Obi Callistus Nwabueze, executive director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of the agency, disclosed that the agency had an engagement that would enable it implement ISPS Code with the US Coast Guard as the designation authority in Nigeria.
The NIMASA boss, who described the US capacity building as the consolidation of the agency efforts in the implementation of the security code in Nigerian port system, further stated that the agency is committed to achieving a safe maritime domain for coastal and international trade to thrive.
NIMASA has been committing a huge chunk of its fund to acquire platforms in conjunction with private companies to ensure the security of ships that are calling Nigerian seaports. This is why the agency has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Navy to constantly patrol and carry out air surveillance of the nation’s maritime domain.