The Nigerian Institution of Marine Engineers and Naval Architecture (NIMENA), a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE). yesterday said foreign vessels are staying away from Nigerian waters over high rate of insecurity.
The insecurities included sea robberies, pirate attacks, highjacking of vessels, kidnapping of crew members among others.
This alarm was raised by the President of the Association, Engr. Henry Unuigbe, MNSE at the 7th Annual Conference / Annual General Meeting of the association tagged, Transforming the Maritime Sector to make Greater Impact on the Economic Development of Nigeria held in Lagos.
Unuigbe said something drastic which may include setting up a coast guard to stem the activities of sea robberies and pirates attacks on the nation’s water.
He said, “For the security of our water, we also need to look at other agency for complimentary role. like on the land, we have police, civil defence and when they are overwhelmed, they call in the Army so that kind of structure will be needed on the nation’s water. i will say it will take another agency to stem the tide of piracy on our waters.”
“We need to see to see the trend of reporting and despite government putting money, we are still hearing attack, kidnappings we meet with foreigners onboard ships and like i said people are not bringing their ships here because they are afraid of insecurities in Nigeria so, something need to be done to stem the tide and bring peace to the waters,” he lamented.
The president of NIMENA which is also a division in the Nigerian Society of Engineer (NSE) specially mentioned the alarming insecurity in the Gulf Of Guinea has remained alarming and must be addressed by government.
“Security plays a critical role in the life of any nation as no meaningful development can be achieved without it. For long, maritime security around the Gulf of Guinea has attracted global attention with the situation in Nigeria more alarming.
“Piracy, kidnapping, Hijacking and theft in our waters have become recurring issues with its negative impact. incidences of these kinds have made Nigeria an unattractive destination for ships resulting in either rejection or diversion of Nigerian bound cargo to other destination or increase in cost of transportation of cargo. The economic value chain associated with one of these is to a very large extent lost.”
Unuigbe stated further, “in my opinion, Nigeria must put in place robust maritime security architecture to tackle this menace. in doing this, we must eschew parochial interest and put the interest of Nigeria first. We recognize the efforts of the Nigerian Navy in ensuring security in the maritime corridor.
“However, the situation remains unabated as security incidences are continuously being reported. if this has become insurmountable, Nigeria should perhaps consider the views of those advocating for a separate Maritime Coastguard.”
The association alsolamented that the country has not taken taken full advantage of its maritime potentials for the benefits of its citizens.
“Nigeria, with a long coastline of about 420 nautical miles and a maritime space of about 83,903 so nm, Nigeria is unarguably an important maritime nation and well placed to explore the opportunities therein. however; the country has not been able to fully take advantage of the industry potentials to grow it to the benefit of Nigerians.
“Ships remain an important asset in maritime activities and oil and gas Operation. Nigeria must leverage on her position as a maritime nation and take strategic steps to stimulate growth in the industry.”
“The Nigerian shipowner is plagued with outdated maritime assets and limited access to capital. Those lucky to have access for the acquisition of ships do so via a double digit interest arrangement that end up -in most cases on a sad note. There is no doubt that this has greatly hindered development and growth in the
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