From Bello Wakili
Federal Government has secured ten convictions for various maritime offences since the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act was signed into law in June 2019.
President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this at the official flag-off of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure in Nigeria also known as the Deep Blue Project at the ENL Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos.
He said he is confident that the project, which provides a robust maritime security architecture, will enhance maritime domain awareness capability and improve law enforcement action, particularly in the prosecution of suspects under the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act which he signed into law in June 2019.
The President noted that the Flag-off was an important step in the continuing shift in strategic action about regional maritime security.
He maintained that It would serve as a benchmark for member states in the Gulf of Guinea and other relevant stakeholders to further develop innovative strategies and align efforts with the subsisting framework to improve maritime security in the region
Calling for greater collaborations among countries in the Gulf of Guinea to secure Nigeria’s waters and beyond, President Buhari noted that the assemblage of the new maritime security assets was coming at a critical time when global discussions are centered on piracy activities and the new dimension it has taken in the region.
According to him with the world’s waters accounting for over 80% of transportation requirements of the global economy, concerted efforts and innovative actions are required to address attendant security challenges.
President Buhari emphasized that the flag-off of the project marked an important milestone in this regard and in the countries collective effort to tackle security challenges in the form of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Stressing that It is also a demonstration of government’s strong commitment to ensuring security.
He commended the Ministers of Transportation, Defence, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Director-General NIMASA, members of the Steering Committee, the Project Management Team and all other government stakeholders who have worked together to bring this initiative of the administration to fruition.
Assuring of government’s commitment to ensure the project’s sustainability, the President urged all critical stakeholders to work collectively for the greater benefit of all Nigerians, member states of the Gulf of Guinea and the global maritime community.
At the inauguration, the President, who witnessed the demonstration of a range of assets to tackle maritime security, supervised the naming of two Vessels, Deep Blue Abuja (DB-Abuja) and Deep Blue Lagos (DB-Lagos) by the Minister of State, Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki.