A United States Naval Personnel; Rufai Adeniyi has condemned the contracting of Nigeria's maritime security to an Israeli firm at the cost of $195million, describing it as admittance of failure on the part of Nigeria’s' maritime administrators.
Rufai who visited Merchant Navy Directorate last week told Shipping Position Daily that what the country needs is the creation of a maritime security agency similar to the United States Coast Guard.The Nigeria-born US Navy personnel said that bringing in foreigners to secure Nigerian waterways shows lack of confidence in the Nigerian Navy as well as other security professionals in the country.
According to him, the biggest crime in the world is perpetrated on the sea and the Nigerian maritime system contributes a lot of it in Africa.
Speaking on the security contract which is being championed by Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Rufai said: "The US Coast Guard doesn't make itself, it is the people that are in charge of it that made it to be worth what the whole world is proud of"
He asked: "Does the Israeli contract the navigation of their waterways security to other nations? Nigeria is an independent nation and a sovereign nation, why should we be bringing foreigners to come and secure our waterways security, are we selling ourselves cheaply, are we claiming to be well protected when an outsider is the one protecting us? Are we now saying that we are not proud of our own personnel and human resources in this country and that they are not intelligently okay to handle our Security System?"
"This means that we are telling the whole world that we are weak, we are admitting that what belongs to us should be manned by somebody else, can somebody love you more than you love yourself? So how do you expect the Israeli to love us more than we Nigerians love ourselves", he said.
He threw his weight behind the Merchant Navy Directorate, saying that there are lots of anomalies in the maritime sector which the directorate is trying to correct so that the past mistakes of leaders can be corrected.
"With the level of experience I have gained here within this short time, I have realised that they (Directorate) are trying to inculcate or bring into the Nigerian maritime system something similar to the Maritime Coast Guard, the job of the US Coast Guard is different from the US Navy, Coast Guard is mainly concerned about the security and manning of the coastal lines and also guarantee of the safety of the sea and this is what the directorate is trying to put in place"
"The government of Nigeria has said that most of its IGR comes from petroleum, but what the inland waterways contributes is more than what the people in charge are providing information about to the population, this is what this directorate is trying to address, so that they would be able to provide employment for the youth and graduates of various maritime colleges and also to ensure security and safety on our water system", he said.