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FG sets for integrated architecture to boost maritime security

· Explains reasons Secure Anchorage was stopped
· Dakuku says 80% of Deep Blue Assets ready
by June

L-R: Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi; Director, Maritime Safety, Federal Ministry of Transport, FMOT, Mr Paul Adalikwu; and the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, during a Press Conference  on the progress of the DEEP BLUE PROJECT held in Lagos, Monday, February 3, 2020.

The Federal Government has
declared readiness to deploy its integrated maritime security infrastructure, in
an effort to comprehensively tackle insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and
exclusive economic zone.

The Honourable Minister of
Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, stated this Monday in Lagos while briefing
the media ahead of the launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways
Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project.

The Minister, who addressed the
press conference alongside all the heads of agencies under the ministry, also
explained the government’s decision to end the secure anchorage project, a
private security initiative run outside the country’s port system.

He insisted that all ships coming
into the country must anchor at the national ports under the Nigerian Ports
Authority (NPA), which is an agency of the government, rather than allow a
private company provide such security for vessels.   

The Director-General of Nigerian
Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), while expatiating on the
Deep Blue Project, said 80 per cent of the assets required for the takeoff of
the total spectrum maritime security architecture would be deployed by

Amaechi, who briefed the media
after a high level security meeting with maritime stakeholders, restated the
President Muhammadu Buhari government’s determination to tackle maritime
insecurity head-on.

He assured that the Deep Blue
Project, when fully operational, would drastically reduce piracy and other
crimes within Nigeria’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea.

The Minister stated, “Recall that
we secured an approval from the Federal Executive Council to introduce a
maritime security architecture, which is coming to fruition.

“We engaged the Homeland Security
International (HLSI), who are only to provide training and equipment, while the
Nigerian Navy would lead the Police, Nigerian Army and Department of State
Services, among others that would run the equipment.” 
He stated that the security of
the maritime sector needs a more holistic approach, hence the need to involve
other arms of the country’s security services to support the Nigerian Navy
working with NIMASA.

Giving a breakdown of the assets
being installed under the Deep Blue Project, Dakuku revealed that a good number
of the assets had arrived the country, including six interceptor boats and a
special mission vessel, saying a second one would come in before the end of

The Director-General also
disclosed that the first special mission aircraft would be in the country
before the end of the first quarter of the year, while six armoured aircraft
were already in the country, and the first unmanned aerial vehicle would come
in before the end of February.

Dakuku stated, “We expect the
first helicopter in the first quarter of this year. Almost all the
communication gadgets are in the country as well as the Personal Protective
Gear (PPG). The C4i centre is fully operational in Kirikiri, the NIMASA
Research Centre. Those are the assets we have on ground.

“However, between now and June
this year, over 80 per cent of the assets would be in the country and they
would be manned by Nigerian military.”

Dakuku stated that the training
aspect of the project had since commenced in phases.
He said the first set of training
for C4i operators and intelligence officers had been concluded. Basic infantry
training for soldiers who would fight on land around the littoral areas has
also been concluded and the soldiers awaiting deployment, according to him.

“These training would continue
over time as we try to integrate the intelligence officers with the C4i and
those operating the special mission vessels and aircraft,” Dakuku said.

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