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Security expert spurns Deep Blue Project as incapable of ending piracy in Nigeria

—-claims unemployed NIMASA seafarers graduates fuel sea rage
Eyewitness reporter
A maritime anti-piracy security expert and Master Mariner, Captain Alfred Oniyi, had declared that the much-celebrated deep blue project may not end the pirate scourge on Nigeria’s waters as was widely believed.
Captain Oniyi, who is the General Secretary of the Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria, did not apparently share the infectious enthusiasm and belief of stakeholders that the multi-billion dollars assets of the deep blue project, recently deployed,  could end piracy in Nigeria.
Speaking in Lagos,  the Master Mariner believed that as long as the thousands of Seafarers who were trained under the National Seafarers Development Programme ( NSDP) of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) remained unemployed, the issue of piracy will continue to linger.
He claimed that NIMASA  only succeeded in training professional sea pirates by refusing to provide job opportunities for certified seafarers.

“Piracy and insecurity on our waters are created by NIMASA themselves.

” When you train professionals and you don’t give them jobs, you have tactically trained sea pirates. Every trained and certified seafarer is a potential sea pirate.

“Being a seafarer is a professional job. It is either you use your skill illegally or legally. I don’t see the Deep Blue Assets as the solution to the problem on the ground.

sea pirates

“NIMASA is supposed to first look at the causes of insecurity in the system. But they are not looking at the causes and they want to solve problems.

“We all know that unemployment is a major reason why we have an increase in insecurity in the maritime system.

“Instead of you creating jobs,  you are using the money to invest in one Deep Blue Project, buying fighter jets and you think it will work?

.”You are only going to use the equipment to fight the unemployed seafarers that you turned to sea pirates because you made them unemployed,” Captain Oniye said.
Reacting to the high level of professionalism displayed by sea pirates on Nigerian waters, Oniye said only trained pirates can have the impetus to successfully track and hijack a vessel and its entire crew without being apprehended.
He said many of the pirates are unemployed seafarers who are only trying to survive and make ends meet from the pathetic situation NIMASA has pushed them into.“NIMASA said they have trained close to 3,000 seafarers and they cannot even boast of giving 500 out of them jobs outside the country.

” The question is where are the remaining 2,500 seafarers and what are they doing?

” When you look at the way pirate operations are being carried out on our sea, then you will know that these guys are professionals to the core.
” They carry out their operations in a very professional way. Look at the way they operate. They don’t kill their victims. They kidnap them, you pay them and they release their victims. It is called survival.“How can you fight someone who knows how to track a ship? Someone who knows how to go underwater and burst pipes, someone who knows your vessel position.

“Is that the person you want to use your fighter jet to fight? I don’t see the solution being provided by NIMASA as the ultimate solution to the problem on the ground.

” Let them create jobs for unemployed seafarers and you will see if the insecurity will not reduce” Oniye noted.

As a better panacea to fighting piracy, the security expert however charged NIMASA to create job opportunities for certified seafarers and create enabling environments in the country for foreign shipbuilding companies in order to make the Cabotage Act work effectively.

“Use the money you are spending on these assets to create jobs for seafarers. The Cabotage Act says vessels must be built in the country, manned, owned, and crewed by Nigerians.

“NIMASA should create an enabling environment for these foreign companies to come to Nigeria and start building vessels.

” Even the Nigeria-owned vessels are not even getting jobs because foreign vessels are taking over their jobs” Oniye declared.

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NIMASA set to open Lokoja office to harness waterways resources

The Eyewitness Reporter

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has disclosed that the Agency is set to reopen the Lokoja office, as part of efforts towards harnessing the Blue Economy, enhancing collaboration, while also promoting Research and Development.

The DG, who made this known when he played host to the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA), Mal. Usman Hayatu Mazadu at the head office of the Agency in Lagos, noted that investment in research would play a major role in ensuring the harnessing of Nigeria’s maritime potentials.

“The key cardinal principle of opening the NIMASA Lokoja office is to improve on Research and Development.

“Our goal is to establish the nexus in maximizing the use of available resources in the nation’s inland waterways and the deep blue waters within 28 states, spanning over 4000 kilometers of inland waters and over 200 nautical miles of ocean resources; with the coming of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

He said, “Now, the Blue Economy has come to stay and very soon you will see the impact of what we have; in terms of the gains and benefits to grow our Gross Domestic Product while improving the well-being of our own Economy”.

Earlier in his remarks, Mallam Usman of KADSEMA lauded the Agency for the feat achieved so far, which cuts across the entire Nigeria.

While seeking cooperation with the Agency in possible areas, he expressed the readiness of KADSEMA to support the Agency in areas that may be deemed possible.

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Freight Monitor

Prince Nwokeabia rallies support for Comptroller Ukpanah, CAC Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi\command, as she assumes office 

Prince Nwokeabia,
 The Eyewitness Reporter
The Chairman of the Enugu chapter of the Association of  Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Alex Nwokeabia, has rallied the support of his members and other stakeholders in the chapter for the new Customs Area Controller of  Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Area Command, Compt. Comfort Senas Ukpanah as she assumed duty in the command.
In his congratulatory message to the new controller, Prince Nwokeabia, while welcoming Comptroller Ukpanah to the Enugu Customs Command, expressed confidence in the capacity of the new CAC to further drive the command to new heights of success.
The freight forwarder, who described the new CAC as a thoroughbred Customs officer who rose through the rank, believed that Comptroller Ukpanah would consolidate and surpass the achievements so far recorded in the command.
Prince Nwokeabia, while congratulating the new CAC on her deployment to the command, assured her of the readiness of the members of the Enugu ANLCA to support and work for the success of her tenure.
”I, Prince Alex Nwokeabia, on behalf of all the members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Enugu Chapter, welcome our new Area Controller,  Comptroller Comfort Senas Ukpanah, to her new post and wish her a successful tenure.
“The Enugu ANLCA wishes to assure her of our unflinching support and readiness to work with her and her team to ensure the successful implementation of her mandate” the ANLCA Chieftain declared.
Comptroller Ukpanah assumed office as the new Customs Area Controller of Enugu/Anambra/Ebonyi Area Command on Friday 15th September, 2023.

 She took over from Comptroller AM Adegbite who was re-deployed to Edo/Delta Area Command.

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Customs, UN agency collaborate to fight smuggling

The Eyewitness Reporter

The anti-smuggling efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service has received a boost with the support of the United Nations agency,
United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN—Habitat.
The Customs got the assurance of collaboration from the UN agency on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, when the acting Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi hosted the ambassadors of the global agency led by Dr. Raymond Edoh in his office.
Adeniyi told his guests that the Service, under his watch, will implement every necessary action against saboteurs of Nigeria’s economy to cripple their ‘illegitimate’ business of smuggling.

“On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely.”

He appreciated how they traveled from afar to inform the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started yielding positive results in suppressing the menace of smuggling.

The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.

The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.

“What we’re trying to do is to raise a modern Customs Service through partnering with stakeholders to achieve our goals because we value partnership, and I am happy that you extended your hands of collaboration to work with us.”

He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through a technological approach.

He underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.

On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”

According to him, they decided to visit the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.

He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.

UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.

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