DG thus thanks President Buhari for signing SPOMO Act into law
· NIMASA begins profiling of youths likely to go into sea crimes
By Ignatius Chukwu
The Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has made it clear that arresting sea pirates without prosecuting them is a waste of resources. He said many pirates arrested have now been prosecuted.
He said while unveiling the Deep Blue Project aimed at combating sea piracy in the Gulf of Guinea that efforts are also made to complete the criminal justice administration wheel while fighting the sea menace.
Dr Jamoh stated there is no doubt that Deep Blue Project is about assets and platforms, but that tthese assets and platforms by themselves cannot address the challenges of maritime insecurity.
“Even if you have assets and arrest the pirates, if you don’t prosecute offenders it is wasteful exercise. That is why, Mr. President, today the maritime industry thanks you for signing the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO Act) into law. This is the very first of its kind in the entire Gulf of Guinea that is fast becoming a model for other African maritime nations. Under this law, we have successfully prosecuted, convicted and sentenced several offenders for the first time.”
Giving details of the scheme, Dr Jamoh said: “When I took up office with my executive team, we set out on a triple ‘S’ agenda of Maritime Security, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development. We devoted most of our energy and focus in our first year to addressing the problem of maritime security. Without security of our seas, no meaningful seaborne trading or shipping economy can be possible. Securing our seas became a pressing mandate.
“Today marks the fulfillment of that mandate. March 2020, upon assumption of office as the Director-General of NIMASA, and at the inauguration of the agency’s Governing Board, we were given a clear mandate to fund and deliver the Deep Blue Project. Mr. President, may I respectfully, with the permission of my Supervising Minister of Transportation, announce that the mission has been accomplished. Deep Blue Project
He said the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure popularly known as the Deep Blue Project is a clear objective to Manage, Control and Protect Nigerian Waterways. “In line with the mandate given us we explored various initiatives all geared towards ensuring our waters are safe so that business can thrive to impact positively on the economy of the country and the Gulf of Guinea.”
Next, he said, is NIMASA’s partnership with various international organizations, a partnership that has helped to improve regional approach to solving issues of maritime challenges. “We are beginning to witness an era of proper coordination, meaningful collaboration and productive cooperation. Today we are working ever more closely with the IMO for purposes of restoring sanity to our seas and there can be no greater proof and encouragement than the evidences of the International Maritime Organization’s Secretary-General’s endorsements of Nigeria’s leadership efforts for curtailing criminality along our coastal corridor.”
On the home front, he stated, he said his team upon assumption of office quickly established the Maritime Intelligence Unit (MIU) in order to reset their paradigm and approach towards understanding and properly profiling the behavioural patterns of the young people who engage in sea crimes and piracy. “This became for us a more proactive approach to the problem of maritime insecurity.
“The success of the Maritime Intelligence Unit also provided us the capacity to intervene using the carrot and stick approach in a meaningful manner to salvage our young people that have been prone to being recruited into piracy along our coastal states. Coupled with our littoral states outreach to the state Governors, a new partnership is emerging that will deal with potential piracy issues before they occur.”