The Nigerian Minister of Transportation Mr Rotimi Amaechi says the country now leads regional maritime security.
He stated this at the official flag off of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure (Deep Blue Project) in Lagos State.
The Minister said when the current administration took over, Nigeria was third position in maritime security with high level of insecurity hence the need for the Deep Blue Project.
“As a former governor in the Southern part of the country, there were killings in the water. so the day I was appointed minister of Transportation in charge of maritime I knew I had to do something very important to find solution to that”.
Mr Amaechi added that “when I resumed office in 2015, I carefully evaluated the Transportation requirements of the country and the overall state of the Nigerian economy and made a clear assessment that the development of the maritime sector was the future of the Nigerian economy in view of the world wide decline in fossil fuel requirement due to climate change and oil industry uncertainties created by the Shell oil revolution in the United State of America.
“I developed an agenda to secure the channels of maritime to reduce shipping cost and expand business administration in the maritime sector in order to facilitate increase in the contribution of the sector to national development and GDP”.
The Transportation Minister noted that the Deep Blue Project was about Nigeria’s ability to secure it’s future by exercising sovereignty over it’s territorial waters.
He also assured that the project management team will work to ensure sustainance and maintainance of the project.
The Director General Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Bashir Jamoh said the agency will continue to ensure that the waterways are safe for businesses to strive and impact positively on the economy of the country and the Gulf of Guinea.
Prevention of illegal activities
The Deep Blue Project which was implemented in 2018 aims to prevent illegal activities in the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), enforce maritime regulations, enhance safety of lives at sea, and prevent illegal activities in the inland waterways. The Nigerian Government added the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA), off the coast of Lagos, to the areas under the protection of the Deep Blue Project.
The project is designed with three categories of platforms to tackle maritime security issues on land, sea, and air. The land assets comprise the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) for intelligence gathering and data collection; 16 armoured vehicles for coastal patrol; and about 600 specially trained troops for interdiction, known as Maritime Security Unit. On air, there are two Special Mission Aircraft for surveillance of the EEZ, three Special Mission Helicopters for search and rescue; and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The sea assets consist of two Special Mission Vessels and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats.
Source: Voice of Nigeria