NIMASA DG Assures Maintenance And Sustainability Of Deep Blue Assets
By Yusuf Odejobi
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has pledged commitment to the maintenance and sustainability of assets deployed under the Deep Blue Project, using the provisions under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offenses (SPOMO) Act.
Jamoh stated this in Lagos during the graduation ceremony of officers trained to crew the air assets of the Deep Blue Project also called the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure.
According to him, Section 19 of the SPOMO Act provides for a dedicated account for anti-piracy and also breaks down the sources of funds available for the maintenance of the Deep Blue Project assets.
“Certain percentage of the maritime fund will be dedicated to the account. There is a provision for the seizure and disposal of assets like ships used in the course of sea crimes which 30% of the proceeds from the disposed asset will be dedicated to the anti-piracy account so that we can fund the fight against piracy. It also provides a window for the International community to contribute and donate as the fight against piracy is not only exclusive to Nigeria’s economic zone,” he said.
He added that the challenge is not about deploying the assets but about its maintenance and sustaining the tempo of the project so that it can outlive the present generations and continue to be of benefit to future generations.
Jamoh specially thanked the National Assembly and President Mohammadu Buhari for asserting the bill of SPOMO Act, even as he noted that the maintenance of the project is huge.
The NIMASA Director-General also noted that the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has acknowledged the impact of the Deep Blue Project stating that in the last 27 years since 1994 there has never been a record of success in the drop in piracy acts as witnessed from January to June this year.
He, however, urged the officers to continue to be vigilant as they are the eyes in the sky as far as the air assets are concerned.
Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa in his speech said that with the graduation of the officers, the nation has been able to build local capacity as the security of the nation can’t be left in the hands of foreigners.
He added that the project is about proper regulation of ensuring the nation’s waterways are safe for everyone involved in maritime business.
As one of the littoral states involved in the project, the Deputy Governor called for the commitment of the policymakers, the government, consultants, administrators and the staff as they all have a role to play. “It is when we all put in our best we can have a safe maritime environment to operate,” he said.
He also advised the graduands to continue to train, improve themselves and be committed to secure the nation’s territory.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Oladayo Amao who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Air Force (NAF) headquarters, JMD Gwani in his speech said that graduation of the officers marks a major milestone in the actualisation of the Deep Blue Project and also to enhance the cooperation between the Nigerian armed forces and NIMASA.
According to him, human capacity development is imperative to the realisation of the project, thus NAF carefully selected the best from its personnel for the training as pilots, engineers, technicians, mission system operators, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operators and the Command, Control, Communication, Computer, and Intelligence Centre (C4i) operators to effectively man the various platforms under the project.
CAS also reiterated the commitment of the NAF to continue to reap out criminal elements who are out to destroy the image of the nation.
While congratulating the graduands, CAS noted that the graduation of the officers marks a major milestone in the course of their career and also signifies greater expectations from them and the service in general as they’re more enlightened, trained and equipped with a great capacity to secure the maritime environment.
Speaking about the training, Coordinator of the Deep Blue Project, and Director, Planning, Research and Data Management Services Department (PRDMSD), NIMASA, Mr. Anthony Ogadi, said the crew had 10 foreign and 14 local training on various platforms of the Deep Blue Project under the supervision of the project contractor, Homeland Security International (HLSI).
Speaking on behalf of the crew, Wing Commander Bankole thanked NIMASA for facilitating the training and also expressed optimism that the crew’s deployment would be as soon as possible so that they could begin to utilize their knowledge and not forget it.
The highpoint of the event was the presentation of certificates to the 42 officers at the ceremony, which also had in attendance NIMASA’s Directors, Vendors, senior officers airmen and airwomen of the NAF.