[Apologies: this article appeared whilst I was away, but is worthy of inclusion.]
By John Iwori
Without adequately securing her waters, the development of the Nigerian maritime industry is not going to be attained, a communiqué issued at the end of the fourth edition of the annual Nigeria Maritime Exposition (NIMAREX 2014) has said.
Those who attended the exposition which took place in March in Lagos posited that there can be no maritime development without adequate security on Nigeria’s territorial waters.
According to a copy of the communiqué, Nigeria must tackle the underlying factors that give rise to piracy and criminality at sea, such as poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and environmental issues. That the key to maritime security was surveillance and response for which Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Navy were acknowledged to be performing well.
Participants at the maritime exposition averred that enforcement will need to be strengthened by a purposeful synergy between the relevant security agencies that must work together and share information for the common goal of ensuring security in Nigeria’s maritime environment. This synergy should be structured to ensure that security agencies work as a team rather than merely assisting one another through Memoranda of Understanding (MoU).
Continuing, they said: “Some of the identified reasons for insecurity within our maritime domain were lack of equipment and technology required to address the situation; lack of political will to tackle the problem head-on; arrested criminals are not properly prosecuted but in most cases released to continue with their criminal activities; insurance companies and the KNR factor whereby insurance companies are now making money from kidnapping incidents.
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