In response to the growing need to maintain the numerous transportation assets procured by the Federal Government in recent years and save the nation the cost and pain of embarking on another round of purchases soon, the Federal Ministry of Transportation(FMoT) is working on a sustainable maintenance plan and culture model to be adopted.
Confirming this in Lagos at the weekend during the commissioning of some projects delivered by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency(NIMASA), the Permanent Secretary, FMoT, Dr. (Mrs) Magdalene Ajani, in response to the flurry of calls for sustainability culture by stakeholders, said,”Everybody has encouraged us to have a sustainability plan for both the deep blue project and for the vessels that are being launched here today.
“As a Ministry that is right in front of us. I am sure soon you will hear the good news. We are very mindful of the sustainability of all that has been done in the ministry of transportation, ”she stated.
The assets commissioned were: five new patrol and security boats; five refurbished search and rescue as well as pollution control boats; the search and rescue clinic; and an administrative building.
Justifying the exercise during the maritime assets commissioning by the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo in company of numerous key maritime stakeholders and National Assembly members, he asserted that the five state-of-the-art enforcement platforms will ensure strict compliance and adherence with the extant laws governing the operations of our Maritime domain.
“These platforms will give NIMASA the much-needed tools required to function as a Maritime Administration in line with the protocols and conventions of the International Maritime Organization(IMO) and International Labour Organization(ILO) to which NIMASA represents Nigeria as its contracting government.
“Four staff ferries which were acquired to increase the overall efficiency and productivity of the staff of the Agency, by creating a more conducive means of transportation to and from official assignments, thereby bypassing the hassles that are associated with the operational terrain of the ports.
Other projects were the renovated Administrative Block, the NIMASA Multipurpose Hall and the NIMASA Search and Rescue Clinic of the Nigerian Maritime Resources Development Centre; the NIMASA Search and Rescue Base Clinic at Azare Crescent Apapa, and Communication Gadgets for enhanced maritime security.
The Minister also performed the groundbreaking of the construction site of the NIMASA Skill Acquisition Centre, Lagos.
Sambo said, “Today’s ceremony serves to further reinforce our commitment, as the projects commissioned are directly tied to the mission of NIMASA which is to achieve and sustain safe, secure shipping, cleaner oceans and enhanced maritime capacity in line with the best global practices towards Nigeria’s economic development.”
He recalled that “On the 16th of May 2023, we gathered in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to commission the newly acquired NIMASA Abuja Zonal Office and to show the good people of Nigeria our relentless commitment to the delivery of good governance through our deliberate and concentrated efforts at institutionalizing policies and structures that will lead to Nigeria’s economic renaissance”
In his welcome address, the director-general of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh also called for maintenance culture among the security agencies meant to manage and enforce the use of the assets.
In his words: “ As we launch these new assets, I urge all the officers that will be assigned to utilize them to bear in mind that they are national assets and are to make the best use of them while bearing in mind the need for proper maintenance.
“I accordingly dedicate all the assets to be launched and the building to be commissioned to the glory of God”. He added.
Jamoh recalled how the deep blue project assets helped to make the year 2022 a crime and piracy-free year in the Gulf of Guinea.
His words: “By the year 2022, cases of piracy and other maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea had significantly reduced as only about 3 cases of piracy were recorded while none of the cases was attributable to Nigeria. The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center (IMB PRC) regarded this as a positive trend. This equally meant that the year 2022 was a successful year for Nigeria in the fight against piracy and other maritime crime and same should be regarded as a milestone for the Buhari-led administration.
“The success of 2022 can only be credited to the tremendous effort of the Federal Government in terms of provision of infrastructure which is best enveloped as the Deep Blue Project.”
According to him,the Deep Blue project is a $195 million investment towards vessels, Maritime Domain Awareness platforms, and land and air and sea assets. The land assets comprises the Command, Control, Computer, Communication, and Intelligence (C4i) Centre for domain awareness and intelligence gathering, 16 armored vehicles for coastal patrol, and a 600-strong Maritime Security Unit specially trained for interdiction. The air assets comprises two Special Mission Aircraft (SMA) for surveillance of the EEZ, three Special Mission Helicopters (SMHs) for search and rescue, and four Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) while the sea assets comprises two Special Mission Vessels (SMVs) and 17 Fast Interceptor Boats (FIBs).
He said, ”The Deep Blue Project which has tremendously boosted the rate of safety of the waterways was an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and Federal Ministry of Defense, implemented by NIMASA, with personnel drawn from the Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services, and other security agencies. There is no Gainsaying that the project is the most significant commitment by any Gulf of Guinea country to date and the impact is crystal clear for all to see.”