Is Nigeria winning the war against piracy and sea robbery?

Capt Alfred Oniye (Merchant Navy) If anybody tells you that pirate attacks are not increasing on Nigerian waters, definitely they are lying. Gulf of Guinea still remains sea pirate’s hot spot, particularly Nigerian waters, talk about Port Harcourt, Bayelsa, and Bonny Island.  

Most of these incidents happen between 60 to 63 nautical miles of our waterways, so where is the Nigerian Navy?  NIMASA should stay off maritime security, it is not their responsibility, is Nigeria too small to have a Coast Guard? Is Nigeria too big or small to have a maritime security agency? Check all our backwaters and inland waterways, you would not see any patrol vessel, kidnappers enter the village, they kidnap and escape through the back waters. 

 From Ikorodu to Lagos, you would record 120 creeks but you would not see one security vessel.Nigerian Navy is trying their best but their best is not enough, they need another security agency to complement their efforts. They need an agency to work hand in hand with them and share information.  

Comrade Owolabi Omotayo (Water Transporter) Yes, Nigeria is winning the war against pirate attacks and sea robbery despite some flash attacks recently. The Nigerian Navy must continue to strategise and re-strategise on the fight against sea pirates and robbery by deploying modern technologies such as drones and other sophisticated equipment to continue flying over attack-prone areas of the Nigerian territorial waters to monitor and gather vital information on the movement of unauthorized vessels and boats. I think Nigeria is gradually winning the war against sea pirates and robbery.  

Sampson Chima (Registrar, NIS)We are winning the war against piracy because I know that a lot of measures have been put in place to combat these pirate attacks, but you know that criminals, if you bring any measure to checkmate them, they would device another means. I know it is a continuous struggle and I would like to call the attention of the Nigerian Navy to intensify their efforts in putting the proper modalities in place to combat the crime. The security and safety of the waters is paramount for the survival of the maritime industry in Nigeria, Navy needs to be more proactive. Also, the synergy and relationship between the Navy and NIMASA matters a lot, so I would not advise that they should scrap it, when the piracy started, it was the synergy between the Navy and NIMASA that reduced the activities of these criminals. I would suggest that they should go back to the drawing board to see the possible ways of nipping it in the board, technological wise, we need to upgrade.  

Okechukwu Vincent (Maritime Stakeholder)I believe the Nigerian Navy, the maritime police and other security apparatus are trying their best, but to cover our territorial waters is not an easy task, especially in the Gulf of Guinea it requires funding, and no matter the millions of dollars you give to them they would still need more assistance in terms of helicopter surveillance, fast moving speedboats and so on. Also, it should be a joint responsibility between the Navy, the marine police and NIMASA. In the Gulf of Guinea now, there is an upsurge in criminal activities and there is need to look at it critically so that it does not escalate. 

Mr Paul Ndibe (CILT)Well, they are giving much attention and awareness to that. Huge resources are required to fight piracy and as far as the country is concerned they are doing it to the best of their knowledge. So it is supposed to be continuous improvements in order to match them or to contain them.  

Rev Jonathan Nicol (Shippers Association)Not yet, Nigerian has not won the war against piracy, they are just waking up from slumber and I will tell you that everything is not well when it comes to fight against piracy. The government is not folding their hands against that, they have sent out seven vessels to the area where they feel they have black spots and that is good. The government has contracted an Israeli company to also help in fighting this menace. 

 

Barrister Obiageli Obi (DG, Chamber of Shipping)The country is doing well in the fight against piracy; all kudos to NIMASA and their surveillance team. NIMASA has a big plan for that, they have integrated maritime security to ensure security in the maritime sector.  They have a synergy with Navy and from what we heard on the maritime day they have a conversation going. I think we should give them time, and encourage them. I am sure with all these plans with this team headed by Dr. Peterside I am sure they are going to do well.

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