The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said it would collaborate with the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to evolve mechanisms to tackle maritime crimes.
The Director General, NEMA, Alhaji Sani Sidi, stated this at the opening of a five-day exercise on response to maritime crimes at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji, Kaduna State. Sidi, who was represented by Mr Ben Ogbeha, NEMA’s South-South Zonal Coordinator, said criminals were unleashing terror in Nigeria’s maritime areas.
According to him, any threat to the nation’s maritime interest will have significant consequences on the economy. “Criminals are unleashing terror on Nigeria’s sea heritage through piracy, smuggling and dumping of toxic waste. “NEMA recognises the need to support the office of the NSA for a collective fight against such threats. “There is need to evolve appropriate strategies and synergise efforts of all stakeholders towards making our maritime environment safe. “We are aware that no single response organisation is competent enough to handle any form of disaster alone. “The need for concerted efforts, cooperation and collaboration to achieve timely and effective response is therefore necessary,’’ he said.
The Commandant of the College, Air Vice Marshal John Ifemeje, said the exercise had been staged for participants to evolve mechanisms to protect the Federal Government’s maritime assets. “This exercise is meant to help in tackling the current upsurge in piracy, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping and illicit oil bunkering affecting our national economy,’’ Ifemeje said. The Commandant urged the participants to take the exercise seriously in order for it to achieve its desired objectives.
While commending the organisers, Ifemeje said that the exercise would ensure effective response in combating challenges facing the maritime sector and other territorial crimes.
The Commandant said the exercise would go a long way in preparing participants to tackle the country’s unfolding challenges in the maritime sector.
By Pita Ochai