A Nigerian Navy training expert, Capt Abel Ogah has said that the controversial Maritime Security Agency (MASECA) Bill will provide jobs for about 50,000 youths in Nigeria and also eradicate piracy.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily in a chat on Monday, Capt Ogah who is a trainer at the Nigerian Navy Base, NNS Beecroft in Apapa, said that despite the opposition to the Bill at a public hearing held recently in Abuja, it still remains the only permanent solution to piracy in Nigeria.
He argued that when fully-established, the maritime security agency will give job opportunity and permanently engage pirates as a long term measure.
Recall that the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Administration and Education headed by Umaru Bago last month held a public hearing on the MASECA Bill where strong voices in the maritime industry, including the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy kicked against the establishment of a parallel security agency.
But Capt Ogah told our correspondent that the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme established by the Federal Government was supposed to have been a temporary measure towards removing the aggrieved boys from the creeks, but that the programme is no longer working.
"It is like a case of giving them fish without equipping them with the facilities to fish by themselves. It must be noted and emphasized that these guys still have the knowledge of what they know to do best"
"And that is the knowledge of operating in maritime. Consequently, what they need is job opportunity to permanently engage them as long term measure"
"Probably, the establishment of maritime security agency (MASECA) where up to 50, 000 youths could be engaged may go a long way in stopping the Amnesty program. The benefit is that, they will be collecting pay for providing maritime security, thereby making the maritime environment safe and secure for businesses to thrive in Nigerian waters", he said.