By SUMAILA OGBAJE
ABUJA- The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to rid the nation’s maritime domain of sea piracy and other organised crimes.
Agba, who was represented by Dr Sampson Ebimaro, Director, Bilateral Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this at the graduation of participants of Anti-piracy Course 4/2023 on Friday, in Abuja.
The course was organised by Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the support of the Government of Japan.
Agba, while stressing that reports had shown that there was significant decline in the incidences of maritime crimes, said that the Federal Government had continued to support initiatives, projects and programmes that would consolidate measures against sea piracy.
According to him, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has recently launched the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure also known as the Deep blue project.
He said the project also set up the Maritime Security Unit comprising the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air force, Nigerian Police, and Department of State Services to conduct simulation exercise and surveillances in the region.
“ Deep blue project is the first integrated maritime Security strategy in West and Central Africa which aimed to tackle incidences of piracy, sea robbery and maritime crimes.
“The Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) in collaboration with Nigerian navy and other specialised MDAs have equally taken step to mitigate issues of piracy and established rules of engagement for Anti-piracy operations,” he said.
The minister said the anti-piracy course was part of government efforts to build skills and capacity on anti-piracy operations with a view to further consolidate towards militating against the incidences of piracy, sea robbery and maritime crimes on sea.
He said that the Ministry of Finance had demonstrated its commitment to ensure sustain collaboration with the MLAILPKC on related initiatives, adding that it would continue to encourage more training of officers and personnel in anti-piracy operations.
According to him, the course which will eventually be applicable to addressing issues of maritime crimes and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
He commended the support of key international organisations such as UNDP and Government of Japan towards hosting the anti-piracy course.
The Commandant of MLALCPK, Maj.-Gen. Parker Undiandeye, said the objective of the course was to enhance the collective understanding of participants on piracy especially in the Gulf of Guinea.
Undiandeye expressed confidence that the participants had received the requisite training and broadened their knowledge on the root causes of piracy and methods of combating it especially in the GoG.
He said the course might have drawn their attention to the complexity and dynamism associated with piracy in particular and other transnational organised crimes.
“It is hoped that what you have learnt here would reflect on your performances and general conduct in your various organizations as well as places of deployment/work.
“Therefore, as you graduate today, you must always remember that so much has been given to you and as such, so much more would be expected from you.
“I urge you not to see the Course only in terms of certificates acquired but its utility must manifest in contributions you can make,” he said.
The UNDP Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Mr Matthew Alao, commended the centre for the successful organisation and execution of the course.
Alao said the government of Japan had also approved funding for another period of training to be undertaken by MLAILPKC with UNDP.
He, however, tasked the participants on feedback about their assessment of the course with a view to encouraging the donor organisations. (NAN)