EXCLUSIVE: EFFECTIVE MARITIME POLICING: A CASE FOR NIGERIA’S SECURITY CRISIS MANAGEMENT (WEEKLY SECURITY DASHBOARD - NOVEMBER 1 - 5, 2021)
Nigerian Navy successfully reduces piracy and other maritime challenges at the country’s exclusive economic zone and the Gulf of Guinea by 77%.
The success is due to the synergistic alliance of all stakeholders in reducing illegalities comprising piracy, kidnapping smuggling, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, militancy and pipeline vandalism in the country’s maritime domain.
According to a report by International Maritime Bureau (IMB: 3rd quarter, 2021), the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, in a statement by Mr Edward Osagie, Assistant Director, Public Relations, NIMASA affirms a decrease by 77% of piracy in Nigerian waters.
How was this possible?
Four major strategies credited to this commendable success record and its sustenance include:
SHUN COMPLACENCY IN SECURITY MANAGEMENT
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, asserts that the achievement of 77% piracy reduction is not time for them to rest on their oars as there was a need for sustenance of the current security handling momentum.
“Nigeria reported four incidents in the first nine months of 2021, compared to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.
“This represents 77 per cent decrease in incidents between 2021 and 2020 and 95 per cent reduction from 2018”, he said.
According to him, “But we cannot afford to be complacent about our commitment to the security of our maritime domain.
“We will continue to strive for more effective measures to keep Nigerian waters safe and secure,” he said.
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JOINT BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE ON MARITIME SECURITY
Such sessions will provide an appropriate platform for NIMASA, Nigerian Navy, and other stakeholders to highlight the challenges and consolidate the gains recorded in maritime security.
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REVIEW AND UPDATE OF OBSOLETE LAWS
The need to review outdated laws in the face of new insecurity trends cannot be overemphasized. Hence, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, in partnership with the PCCN, has agreed to review the laws establishing maritime agencies and institutions across the country to strengthen the law of the sector.
According to the Chairman of the Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin, conflicting laws in setting up some agencies in Nigeria create the dire need to review these laws so that these agencies do not usurp each other’s functions.
He stated, “There are conflicts in the laws. For example, if you take the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Act with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA’s Act, you will see the conflicting areas, and we know why that happened, but that is not for today.
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ALL HANDS MUST BE ON DECK:
The United Kingdom Government's provision of Strategy Training
The United Kingdom Government promises to train more personnel of the Nigerian Navy in the fight against piracy, drug smuggling and other crimes.
UK’s Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, made this known while briefing journalists on HMS Trent, a British warship, in Lagos.
“We would be training the navy personnel on different strategies in combating piracy and other related issues as we believe that this would also help in bringing up various tactics in resolving insecurity in the region.
“We are keen to work with Nigeria to defeat all forms of threats and insecurity in the area and this is one of the steps in ensuring that happens,” he said. He further noted that dry season in the maritime sector is a season of the influx of pirates”, he said.
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Brazilian government's donation of a Navy Ship
Brazilian Navy Ship, Fragata INDEPENDENCIA, has alighted on Nigerian soil for a maritime interdiction mission codenamed ‘GUNEX’ in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Ambassador of Brazil in Nigeria, H. E. Ricardo Guerra de Araújo, represented by the Consulate General of Brazil in Lagos, Francisco Carlos Soares Luz, emphasized the need to collaborate Nigerian Navy in international crimes.
In his statement, he emphasizes, “Fighting pirates in the gulf of guinea is very important because, in the end, piracy activities will raise the cost of products for everyone, especially the land lock countries. They will have to pay more for those things. Brazil and Nigeria share the Atlantic Ocean as a border. So having our border safe is important for everyone, and I think no cost is too expensive to keep the Atlantic Ocean safe.”
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Undivided co-operation with security operatives:
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, urges for support and co-operation of and with the Assistant Inspector-General Police in charge of Maritime and the Nigerian Navy to end the incessant cases of attacks on vessels, barge operators and other port facilities around the waterfronts and channels.
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Elimination of bottlenecks:
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko, charged the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on the need to clear all impediments and bottlenecks that impede the free flow of traffic on all port corridors to ensure efficient and effective handling of cargo in and out of the nation’s seaports. This is because such bottlenecks constrain the effective combat of security challenges.
In analyzing the different bottleneck challenges encountered within the maritime corridor, Koko sought the support of the AIG in helping to address the persistent complaints by stakeholders over extortion, illegal mounting of roadblocks by uniform personnel from the security agencies associations and unions that operate along the seaport corridors.
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Synergy with relevant stakeholders
According to the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, it takes only the dearth of effective collaboration in maritime policing to compromise effective tackling of the security situation in the nation’s maritime.
Gambo said the need to collectively strive to build a credible Navy capable of discharging its constitutional roles and assigned tasks in a sustainable, efficient and effective manner calls for continuous enlightenment and conscious reawakening of the tenets of professionalism and excellent work ethics among the naval personnel at all levels.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Chief of Naval Staff Annual Conference (CONSAC) 2021 in Kano, the CNS said, “Consequently, the present situation calls for constant reappraisals, greater collaboration as well as inter-agency co-operation among stakeholders.
Re-emphasizing the need for synergy, the CNS stated that the scourge of illegalities, such as sea robbery, piracy, crude oil theft, poaching, human and illicit trafficking of weapons and drugs, among others, poses serious challenges not only to the development of the country but also to the region at large.
“Characteristically, the maritime threats have become of major concern and are evolving and challenging the combat capability of the Nigerian Navy and other stakeholders.
In the same vein, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, restated the need for enhanced stakeholder collaboration in tackling maritime security challenges in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.
Dr Jamoh stated this in a presentation titled, “Enhancing Collaboration amongst Stakeholders for Improved Maritime Security in Nigeria,” at the recently held Chief of Naval Staff Annual Conference, CONSAC, in Kano state.
In conforming to the synergistic benefits of curbing maritime challenges, the Nigeria Ports Authority MD promised the authority’s willingness to collaborate with maritime stakeholders to ensure the success of the electronic call-up system known as the ‘Eto’.
The NPA MD harped on the need to streamline operational procedures to curtail extortion and sharp practices that hamper the enforcement of the truck traffic management at Apapa and the entire Maritime logistic Ring (MLR).
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Collaboration with the Republic of Korea on Integrated International security:
The Federal government of Nigeria is to collaborate with the Republic of Korea on the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as the Deep Blue Project, to protect the Gulf of Guinea from piracy and other maritime-related crimes.
According to Mr Kun, who expressed the Republic of Korea’s interest in the Deep Blue Project, increased Maritime Security of Nigeria contributes to the regional security and stability of the International community.
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With the renewed vigour with which the maritime sector is managing its security challenges and clearing the waters of wrecks and derelicts, apart from guaranteeing enhanced safety of navigation, it will further open up the prospects of many new investments in the maritime industry.
In addition, the loss of over 800,000 tons of fish worth two billion dollars lost yearly to pirate activities would be on the low side, if not totally curtailed.
Furthermore, according to Llewellyn, bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom will improve.
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In conclusion, as Nigeria aspires to become the maritime hub for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), she can work towards a higher goal of becoming Africa’s number one most secure country if it so desires.
If effective Maritime policing is feasible, there is no holds barring Nigeria in actualizing an overall security-safe environment through borrowing a leaf from the Maritime sector management.