By Joy Okoli
In an effort to comprehensively tackle insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, the Federal Government says it is set to deploy its integrated maritime security infrastructure. The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, stated this recently in Lagos while briefing the media ahead of the launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project.
The Minister, who addressed the press conference alongside all the heads of agencies under the ministry, also explained the government’s decision to end the secure anchorage project, a private security initiative run outside the country’s port system. He insisted that all ships coming into the country must anchor at the national ports under the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), while expatiating on the Deep Blue Project, said 80 per cent of the assets required for the takeoff of the total spectrum maritime security architecture would be deployed by June.
Amaechi, who briefed the media after a high level security meeting with maritime stakeholders, restated the President Muhammadu Buhari government’s determination to tackle maritime insecurity head-on. He assured that the Deep Blue Project, when fully operational, would drastically reduce piracy and other crimes within Nigeria’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea.
The Minister stated, “Recall that we secured an approval from the Federal Executive Council to introduce a maritime security architecture, which is coming to fruition. We engaged the Homeland Security International (HLSI), who are only to provide training and equipment, while the Nigerian Navy would lead the Police, Nigerian Army and Department of State Services, among others that would run the equipment.”