The Federal Government is committed to eliminating piracy and other criminal activities in Nigeria’s maritime domain, according to the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba.
Represented by the Director, Bilateral Economic Cooperation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Sampson Ebimaro, Agba had spoken on Friday at the graduation of participants of Anti-piracy Course 4/2023 in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The course was organised by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support of the Government of Japan.
Agba, while stressing that reports had shown that there was significant decline in the incidences of maritime crimes, said that the Federal Government had continued to support initiatives, projects and programmes that would consolidate measures against sea piracy.
He explained that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari recently launched the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also known as the Deep Blue Project.
He said the project also set up the Maritime Security Unit, comprising the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police, and the Department of State Services to conduct simulation exercise and surveillances in the region.
“Deep Blue Project is the first integrated maritime security strategy in West and Central Africa, which aimed to tackle incidences of piracy, sea robbery and maritime crimes.
“The Nigerian Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) in collaboration with Nigerian navy and other specialised MDAs (Ministries Departments and Agencies) have equally taken steps to mitigate issues of piracy and established rules of engagement for anti-piracy operations,” he said.
The Minister said that the anti-piracy course was part of government efforts to build skills and capacity on anti-piracy operations, with a view to further consolidate towards militating against the incidences of piracy, sea robbery and maritime crimes.
He said that the Federal Ministry of Finance had demonstrated its commitment to ensure sustain collaboration with the MLAILPKC on related initiatives, adding that it would continue to encourage more training of officers and personnel in anti-piracy operations.
According to him, the course will eventually be applicable to addressing issues of maritime crimes and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
He commended the support of key international organisations such as UNDP and Government of Japan towards hosting the anti-piracy course.
The Commandant of MLALCPK, Major-General Parker Undiandeye, said that the objective of the course was to enhance the collective understanding of participants on piracy especially in the Gulf of Guinea.
Undiandeye expressed confidence that the participants had received the requisite training and broadened their knowledge on the root causes of piracy and methods of combating it especially in the GoG.
He said that the course might have drawn their attention to the complexity and dynamism associated with piracy in particular and other transnational organised crimes.
“It is hoped that what you have learnt here would reflect on your performances and general conduct in your various organisations as well as places of deployment/work.
“Therefore, as you graduate today, you must always remember that so much has been given to you and as such, so much more would be expected from you.
“I urge you not to see the course only in terms of certificates acquired but its utility must manifest in contributions you can make,” he said.
The UNDP Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Mr. Matthew Alao, commended the centre for the successful organisation and execution of the course.
Alao said that the Government of Japan had also approved funding for another period of training to be undertaken by MLAILPKC with UNDP.
He, however, tasked the participants on feedback about their assessment of the course, with a view to encouraging the donor organisations.
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