By Sulaimon Salau
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside has described effective policing as a critical factor to aid the development and growth of the nation's Maritime sector.
Peterside said this while receiving a delegation of the Police Force, Maritime Command, led by the Commissioner of the Command, CP David Folawiyo, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Nigerian Maritime Resource Development Centre (NMRDC), Lagos.
He said the Police officers' first order of business is to serve and protect; and that as an Agency of the Nigerian Government, whose mandate includes ensuring safety of the Nigerian's waterways, NIMASA places premium on security, and all legal agencies and instruments that facilitate and complement the delivery of this mandate.
"Let me commend you for what is in the offing to improve the nation's maritime sector, particularly your plan to provide more police personnel to secure our waterways. We are impressed for the plans you have put in place to complement our efforts in ensuring that our maritime domain is safe for maritime and shipping activities to thrive. We are open to partnership and collaboration, especially with the Nigerian Police Force," he said.
Peterside observed that security has a wide implication for the maritime sector, and that NIMASA is taking the issue of maritime security seriously in line with global industry benchmark and standard, particularly the International Ships and Ports Facility security (ISPS) Code, to enhance growth and regional stability.
He also noted that a symbiotic relationship between NIMASA and other institutions of government in Nigeria was necessary to guarantee safety and security of the Maritime corridor, to further promote ease of doing business in the country, in line with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
The Police Chief Folawiyo, noted that his team was in NIMASA to fraternise with the Agency for its achievements since Peterside became the helmsman; and to also chart a path of possible partnership and collaboration as well as inform the Agency of the Command's plans and activities.
He noted that a strong relationship between NIMASA and the Nigerian Police Force was necessary to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment, and that his team was ready to support the Agency to realise its enabling mandate.
Folawiyo disclosed that there are a number of Police officers deployed to the 63 police outposts within his Command, adding that the existing 2,500 officers within his jurisdiction would be augmented to 5,000 on or before year end.
He informed that 1,300 men would be deployed to cover maritime alone, while 1,200 and 200 officers are expected to be deployed to cover the ports, and coastal activities respectively.
Folawiyo said: "We are planning to bring in two helicopters to provide aerial surveillance of our maritime domain; and we are also seeking the approval of government to establish the Western and Eastern Maritime Zone, to ensure effective policing and we know that this visit to NIMASA is a step in the right direction."