By Innocent Orok
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has condemned in very strong terms the kidnap on Monday of eight Nigerians, five of them members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), in Rivers State waters.
Dr. Jamoh who expressed sadness over the incident, regretted that this is happening when the Nigerian maritime industry is witnessing tremendous gains in the nation’s maritime security sphere and is getting commendations for the progress both locally and internationally.
In a press release by Osagie Edward, Assistant Director, Public Relations, the NIMASA, DG said “I have spoken with the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju to express the Agency’s displeasure over the incident and unequivocal condemnation of this unpalatable development, especially when the industry is beginning to witness tremendous gains in our maritime security sphere and are getting commended for the progress both locally and internationally. I also assured him of the Agency’s support during this challenging period till the abducted maritime workers are returned safely to their families and the industry.
“The MWUN President, who said his team is moving to the vicinity of the incident by this weekend, welcomed our show of solidarity and support as part of the maritime family. Apart from condemning this situation, NIMASA is also following the trend of the events, and our Deep Blue assets, especially the C4i and intelligence centres are monitoring and we shall keep the public apprised of progress,” the Director General said.
He also said that the Agency is not unmindful of sea pirates’ presence and activities of other marine criminals who are running away from the intense heat in the nation’s territorial waters, courtesy of the enforcement of the Deep Blue Project.
He noted that such lawless persons would have started relocating to the low rivers to continue their criminal enterprise.
The NIMASA boss vowed that the personnel of the Deep Blue Project would ensure that all waters of the coastal states are covered in their daily patrol to nip in the bud any act of criminality in the waterways and creeks.
He also assured that the Special Maritime Intelligence Unit of Deep Blue Project will up its ante in engaging the youths at the creeks through the use of the carrot and stick policy of the Agency to wean them away from marine-related atrocities and crimes.
Dr. Jamoh further said that the Agency will continue to explore its partnerships with the governors of the littoral state to continue to sensitize the youths on the non-profitability of marine crime as well as ensuring that they are meaningfully engaged to contribute their quota to the development of the nation.
The eight persons were traveling to Port Harcourt from Kula area in Akuku-Toru LGA, before the gunmen struck at Kula-Abonnema waterway.