By Innocent Orok
The Nigerian Government is concluding plans to make the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as the Deep Blue Project, the central security structure for all anchorage areas in the Nigerian maritime domain.
This arrangement is to reduce the cost of shipping of goods into the country. According to the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, after a meeting with the Executive Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) led by the Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos, She said the maritime agencies are working together to achieve this feat.
The NPA Managing Director also disclosed that both Agencies have agreed to work out modalities for effective removal of all wrecks and derelicts that may hinder navigation in the Nigerian waters.
According to the NPA boss , NIMASA and NPA are sister agencies and should be seen to be collaborating more for the growth of the maritime industry and the country in general. She also disclosed that arrangements are in top gear to berth the NIMASA floating Dockyard permanently in order for it to commence operations in July.
“We had a range of discussions bordering on the Secure Anchorage Area which our supervising Ministry desires the Deep Blue Project to provide security for all anchorage areas in the country. Aside saving the country a lot of money, it will ensure that the security of the Nigerian Maritime domain is given a focal attention”
Hadiza also disclosed that both Agencies agreed to interlink the C3i of the NPA and C4i of NIMASA in order to interchange information that would assist the Nigerian Navy’s response to security.
“We have the C3i Command, Control and Intelligence center at NPA and NIMASA has the c4i while the Navy has falcon eye. We need to interlink these facilities and we believe that this would assist the country in response to maritime security threats”.
Corroborating Usman’s stance, Jamoh reiterated the fact that there was need to harmonize most of the working models amongst all maritime Agencies to avoid duplication of duties which also leads to more costs.
Jamoh said the Secure Anchorage Area, which has been a subject of debate amongst stakeholders would now be covered under the multi spectrum security architecture popularly known as the Deep Blue Project.
“There is absolutely no need for us to have private security in our maritime space. You are aware that this increases the cost of Shipping in our country. By the time the Deep Blue Project becomes fully operational, the cost of shipping would drastically reduce”.
The NIMASA DG also pointed out that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the floating Dockyard should be operational by the end of July. A facility he said will employ hundreds of Nigerians directly and also earn huge amount in revenue for the country.
“We are finalizing arrangements with the NPA to get a permanent berth for the floating Dockyard and by the end of July this facility should be operational. The interesting thing is that aside earning a huge amount of revenue, it also has the capacity to employ over 300 Nigerian youths directly,” he said.
The meeting is seen as a major step towards effective collaborations by both agencies to enhance security in the Nigerian Maritime domain in order to achieve growth for the industry.