Safety on Nigerian waters beyond 40 nautical miles can no longer be guaranteed as there are no enabling platforms for the Nigerian Navy to provide security there.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA) is the only agency of the Federal Government vested with such responsibility of ensuring safety of territorial waters by providing the necessary logistics for the Navy to do their job effectively.
The Vice President, Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Shipping, Engineer Wale George-Ogunshola who made this disclosure in a Radio Live program, NAGAFF CARGO WATCH on Friday said the Nigeria Navy lacked some monitoring equipment like vessels, Boats, fuel and other logistics to monitor activities on the waters after 40 nautical which NIMASA is to provide.
Engr. Ogunshola affirmed that in some areas like Lagos, there is reduction in incidences of crimes within the 40 nautical coast, but after that miles, security is not guaranteed, adding that there have been incidences here and there.
He maintained that if the platform is provided, the Nigeria Navy would go as far as positioning security vessel after 40 nautical miles to monitor activities going on there in order to ensure the safety of the waters.
The Merchant Navy Senior Association Chief noted that most vessels coming into Port Harcourt environment needs security boats which according to him is additional cost to logistics and cargo.
”if I am coming in now, the two security boats will back me up, that will be charged on the cargo I am bringing into Nigeria. That may increase the value for those items because am spending more to bring it to that territorial area, but if it is another country, I don’t need any security boat while the cost of my product will be cheaper,” he asserted.
In terms of funding, he said, ”I don’t think NIMASA has a problem of funding because they are the custodian of money generated. There’s ships acquisition fund available to them and I don’t see funding from NIMASA end, the problem I see is that the money available is not used in the right direction. They misplaced their priority. There are some things that politically they ought to have acquired because of some other reasons and they abandoned some most important things which is administration and safety.
”NIMASA is Marine administration and safety. That should be their core duty. If they handle Administration and Safety very well, other things are auxiliaries. So, If they handled them very well, people will see them and can score them 80.
Reacting to the purchase of Drydock by the Agency, Comrade Ogunshola said, ”I consider it a waste because it is not being used. If they acquired a Drydock and they render services to Nigerians, I won’t consider it a waste. but being purchased over years and they are now looking for where to place it.”
Photo: Engineer Wale George Ogunshola, Vice President Nigerian Mertchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Shipping