By Adeleye Ajayi
Port Harcourt – The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has said the agency is pushing for the passage of a dedicated Anti-Piracy Bill.
Peterside said this on Sunday night in Port Harcourt at a news conference.
According to him, after the passage, Nigeria will be the first African country to have a dedicated Anti-Piracy law.
“”We have the Draft bill before the Federal Ministry of Justice and we are pushing it to be an executive bill.
“”We have raised the bar on surveillance and intelligence in Nigerian waters.
““We have the satellite surveillance system in place and maritime domain awareness assets.
““You can look at a screen and see the entire maritime domain of the country.
“”We have sharpened our intelligence gathering and we have done closer collaboration with the Navy.
““We have had both vertical and horizontal relationships with the Navies of countries in the Gulf of Guinea and Nigeria.
“”We have enhanced our collaboration to produce good results,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes Peterside as saying.
The director-general said the agency was set to pass the forthcoming enforcement test by the U.S. Coast Guards on International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
He said the U.S. Coast guards would be coming to assess the country’s level of compliance with the ISPS.
According to him, NIMASA is ready for the visit and confident that at the end of the visit, Nigeria will be rated 90 per cent with the enforcement of the ISPS Code.
Peterside also said the agency was working hard to ensure that 2,900 boys and girls sent abroad on training by the agency would get sea time experience.
““We will any moment from now, send the first batch of cadets to go for their sea time experience,’’ NAN quotes the director-general as saying.
He said that by doing this, Nigerian cadets would be more qualified for Nigeria to have a fair share of the seafarers worldwide and earn dollars for the country like Asian countries.
“”Our restructuring, our reposition and our reform are on course. By April, we will give account of what this current executive management had been able to achieve.
““There is a headwind in the industry but in spite of the headwind, we have made enormous achievements, ’’ Peterside said.
He said that more than 300 staff of the agency had been promoted, adding that some of them had stagnated for 12 and 14 years, adding that the Executive Management broke that jinx.
““We are able to navigate through all the challenges. We have attracted more technical training for staff more than all the previous years’ put together.
/Our people had participated in technical trainings outside and within the country including the International Maritime Organisation,’’ he said.
He said that the agency did not want to rush the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) but assured that under the current executive management, the fund would be disbursed.
According to him, the the agency is reviewing the regulations guiding the disbursement of the CVFF.
Peterside said that the management was taking NIMASA to be a world class organisation that would contribute immensely to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that maritime had contributed more to the country’s GDP.
“”We have clearly showed a road map of where we are going.”
The Chairman of the Board of NIMASA, Retired Maj.-Gen. Jonathan Garba said that NIMASA had moved away from what it used to be.
He said that the Board and the Executive Management were grateful “to have a President who appointed an able minster of transportation and who knows what he is doing’’.
Garba said NIMASA was doing a lot at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Akwa Ibom, because the agency gave the fund for the running of the academy.
He said that the Board and the Management believed in the training of personnel that would make NIMASA staff competent in various fields.
“”We are carrying out a function which every nation blessed with the type of coast we have must carry out to remain on top.’’
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