African maritime security: Dakuku calls for regional cooperation
By Silas Onuoha
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has said that regional cooperation is key to the safety and security of inbound and outbound goods and services to Africa through the seas.
Dr. Peterside who said this while speaking at a technical workshop on Prospects, Challenges and Opportunities for Regional Collaboration at the sidelines of the just concluded Offshore Technology Conference ,OTC, in Houston Texas, in the United States of America, equally noted that the development of the maritime sector in African continent is hinged on regional cooperation.
He further assured the international stakeholders of a renewed effort to enhance safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea based on sustainable regional cooperation.
The NIMASA DG, who was represented by the Agency’s Executive Director Operations, Engineer Rotimi Fashakin, said that efforts at regional collaboration led to signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ,MoU, with the Ghanaian Maritime Administration among other initiatives.
He added, “Africa, particularly the Sub-Saharan region of the continent stands to benefit from regional cooperation, as this will enhance participation in international shipping, thus reversing the current trend of the region having only an insignificant part of international cargo freight.”
“The Federal Government of Nigeria supports regional integration, as demonstrated with the approved Integrated National Security Strategy ,INSS, for the Nigerian maritime sector, which is designed to be implemented in collaboration with other countries in the Gulf of Guinea ,GoG”.
“The oil & Gas industry needs the maritime sector, particularly shipping, which is international in nature, for it to thrive. The fact that shipping is international in nature, makes collaboration particularly at the regional level inevitable. This will serve as a catalyst for growth in the industry, and we at NIMASA have recognised this fact, thus our numerous collaborative efforts, which are beginning to yield fruits”.
His words, “NIMASA has established a command and control centre for enhanced situation awareness, response capability, law enforcement and regional cooperation amongst others, all geared towards an enhanced water security and by extension, the entire region.”
“Dr. Peterside who is the current Chairman, Association of African Maritime Administrations ,AAMA. He has assured the international community that NIMASA will continue to collaborate with other countries in sub Saharan Africa and beyond, in order to realise its vision of a prosperous maritime sector in Nigeria, the West and Central African Sub-Region”.
While calling for continuous collaboration amongst partners across continents, the NIMASA DG noted that improved profiling and information sharing on maritime criminality and illegality, enhanced maritime domain awareness and surface to air patrol capabilities, functional legal framework, integration of national inter-agency efforts, amongst others are factors that can help bring solutions to the issues related to insecurity in the maritime domain.
On his part, the Chairman of NIMASA Governing Board, General Jonathan India Garba noted that regional collaboration in the maritime sector is an effective measure to grow both human and infrastructural capacity in the maritime sector, stressing that NIMASA Board supports the Agency’s executive Management’s efforts at regional integration.
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC Maikanti Baru, during his visit to the NIMASA stand, at the OTC, commended the Agency’s Management for its efforts in seeking collaboration to grow the industry in Nigeria.