THE Director General (DG) of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi has restated that the Agency would give all it takes to fight crimes in nation’s maritime domain, just as he refuted reports that the agency has acquired warships.
At a press conference in Lagos yesterday, Akpobolokemi commended the media for the support it had offered in his first four years but urged it to do more by investigating thoroughly a lot of reports in the public domain.
According to the DG, the Agency had been able to achieve full domain awareness of its maritime environment, utilising both technology and personnel to attain that feat.
He explained that the NIMASA Satellite Surveillance Centre launched last June had been very crucial to the successes achieved by the Agency in terms of providing intelligence in the fight against piracy and other illicit crimes on the waterways.
Akpobolokemi observed that “it is now very difficult for anybody to attempt a hijack or piracy around the Nigerian maritime domain successfully as the Agency will get the intelligence before the attack is even launched.
“I challenge anyone of you here who can mention one hijack of a ship that has occurred in the last one year between the Lagos waters and Republic of Benin. Remember Nigeria controls about 60 per cent of maritime traffic in West Africa, do you think it is by coincidence or that the criminals just repented and this was not planned?”
He also refuted reports on the alleged acquisitions of warships and gun boats, adding there are quite a lot of rumours going round, which had been pushed by various individuals and organisations who have found it very uncomfortable in carrying out their illegal activities.
He explained that the vessels in question were simply decommissioned vessels procured by NIMASA through a Public Private Partnership arrangement being used by the Nigerian Navy with whom the Agency has a working agreement. “It is the Navy that has fitted their guns on the vessels to aid their operations.