The Federal Government has approved the obtainment of security gadgets for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to fight piracy and other illegal activities on the country territorial waters.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, who was represented by the agency’s Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Bashir Jamoh, said, “We just got approval for the importation of special gadgets which are security specialised. Those are the things we have to deploy to the communities that can easily have access to us such as a walkie-talkie, cellular system that can be used underwater. So when things are going on they can be easily used to get our fast intervention vessels to come for assistance.”

Peterside said the agency was committed to tackling the menace of piracy on Nigerian waters, adding that NIMASA, in collaboration with HLSI Security Systems and Technology— an Israeli firm contracted by the Federal Government to provide security on the nation’s territorial waters, had commenced the training of Nigerian security personnel.

He said, “You are aware that we contracted HLSL to come and look at the security domain of our own water. We just concluded training of our staff members and the joint agencies that are supposed to take care of the policing including the Police, Army, Navy, Department of State Services as well as the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

“Before the HLSL takes up fully, we have six fast intervention vessels approved by the Federal Executive Council that we use to patrol the waterways on a daily basis as well as other technology we have deployed.”

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Noting that pirate attacks on Nigerian waters were being blown out of proportion by the international community, Dakuku urged journalists to always verify the authenticity of such reports in order not to send wrong signals to the shipping community and scare investors away.

He added that such negative reports could also jeopardise Nigeria’s chances at securing a seat in the forthcoming International Maritime Organisation Council election.

“If you report accurately, you are projecting Nigeria in a very good light and when we go to the International Maritime Organisation, those are the things they will check. They will want to know what the position of Nigeria is last year or two years ago after the election in terms of piracy. But when such things are not there, then definitely, we stand to lose the election again,” he said.

(PUNCH)

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