By Nuel Suji – The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has called for the deployment of inter Agency resources including the use of advanced technology to secure Nigeria’s maritime domain.
The DG said this when he led a delegation of the Management of the Agency to the Air Force Head Quarters to seek collaborative ways of dealing with the rising cases of piracy in the Nigerian waters.
Dr. Peterside requested the immediate review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the Agency has with the Nigerian Air Force with a view to strengthening the Agency’s capacity to deal with maritime crimes as well as reduce the response time for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
He commended the Nigerian Air Force and indeed the military for the successful prosecution of the war against insurgency in the North East saying that “now Nigeria can begin to discuss developmental issues for the good of all its citizens”.
While emphasising that maritime security needs a multi sectoral and inter Agency collaboration, Dr. Peterside called on relevant stakeholders to pool national resources together to defeat piracy and other maritime crimes for the economic prosperity of Nigeria.
He pledged the commitment of the Agency to partner with the Nigerian Air Force in order to fight this economic crime and reposition Nigeria as a major hub for maritime activities in the West and Central African sub region.
Responding, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the Air Force can deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) attached with cameras in addition to its fleet of Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) to enhance the surveillance of the Nigerian maritime domain.
Air Marshal Abubakar who said that the Air Force has several senior officers with competence in aeronautic engineering informed the NIMASA delegation that the Force has produced a prototype that is already in use and that they are ready to build capacity of some NIMASA personnel to handle UAVs.
While calling on the assistance of NIMASA and other relevant stakeholders for the mass production of these UAVs, the Air Chief also pledged the support of the Nigerian Air Force to partner with the Agency to deal with maritime crimes.
It will be recalled that NIMASA and the Nigerian Air Force had endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Air Force where the Force is expected to provide air surveillance of the maritime domain as well as provide support to the Agency’s search and rescue operations amongst others.