- As Navy foils plan by trans-boarder gang to export N40 million drugs through water
Unfolding indication is to the effect that Dakuku Peterside, through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has begun a visionary move to return Nigeria to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Council Seat.
The Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative (APR) at the IMO, Alhaji Diko Balla who indicated this, pointing out that the country is set to begin to play its leadership position in global maritime community latter this year.
Mr Balla who confirmed this while speaking at the Nigerian IMO office in London, also noted the steps taken by the present NIMASA management, led by Dakuku towards serious improvement of the country’s relationship with the IMO as a body and other Maritime Administrations who are members of the international body.
“Nigeria was amongst the first 10 countries from the over 170 member nations of the IMO to submit itself for the IMO Member States Audit Scheme (IMSAS). This is seen as a show of direction of the current administration of maritime in Nigeria by the IMO”, Balla highlighted, adding that the IMO Secretary General Mr Kitack Lim was pleased, when the Minister of Transportation, Honorable Rotimi Amaechi informed him that the findings and observations of the IMSAS on Nigeria was being studied with a view to preparing and implementing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) within the stipulated time frame.
Pointing out that Dakuku’s move is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari drive to reintegrate the nation back into global affairs, Balla posited that IMO considers the issue of Piracy as top priority and that the maritime community, particularly the IMO is pleased with Nigeria for taking the fight against Piracy and robbery at sea to new levels, especially with the Anti-Piracy bill, being pushed by parliament.
“The achievements of the Dr. Dakuku Peterside led Management at NIMASA in the past one year is an indication that the nation’s maritime sector is heading in the right direction. And the fact that the IMO is collaborating with Nigeria much more in the area of trainings and technical support shows that the international body is satisfied with NIMASA operations in recent times. By November this year, I can assure you that Nigeria’s election into the Category “C” at IMO will be an overwhelming one”, he said further.
Commenting on the implementation of the International Ships and Ports facility Security ISPS Code, the APR noted that the fact that Nigeria is now in the category of countries considered as most successful in its implementation is a welcome development to both the IMO and other stakeholders in the maritime sector.
”You will recall that when we lost our seat in Council in 2011, our implementation status was less than 13%. Today we have over 85% compliance level, so you can see that the international community is watching and appreciating our efforts” he said, adding that the IMO was prepared to support Maritime Administrations in Africa in combating security challenges, and in building human capacity, equipped to implement, monitor and enforce international instruments.
Commenting on the recent conference of Association of African Maritime Administration AAMA, which was hosted by Nigeria, Mr Bala noted that the IMO has restated her commitment to support, when possible, regular meetings of Heads of Maritime Administrations in Africa, at frequencies to be determined by the continental body.
The Nigerian Alternate Permanent Representative to the IMO noted that the Body is satisfied with the decision of the continental body to encourage regional cooperation and coordination amongst member nations to enhance information sharing and regulatory governance among members which according to the IMO has the potentials to assist in combating the menace of piracy and other maritime crimes while maintaining a balance between security and the facilitation of global trade.
It would be recalled that all member countries of the Association of African Maritime Administration at their 3rd conference which took place in Abuja recently, agreed to address the challenges of building human capacities in the maritime sector, by developing an integrated human resources strategy to support the provision of skills taking into account gender balance in the entire maritime value chain which includes shipping and logistics, offshore activities, fishing, tourism and recreation, as well as safety and security.
In the meantime, plans by a trans-border gang to export canabis worth over N40 million through the nation’s waterways to other West African countries , was weekend foiled by the Nigerian Navy, following the recovery of two fibre boats loaded with 100 bags of the substance.
Vanguard gathered that the suspects were heading towards Benin Republic ,when they were accosted by naval personnel at Igbooja Village , close to Badagry area of Lagos State. Sighting the personnel, the suspects , jumped into the river and swam for safety, abandoning their boats.
The recovered bags of suspected cannabis which had different inscriptions such as TMT, AI, PMAN, Gad and WK, apparently to indicate the different owners , were handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency , NDLEA by the Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship ,NNS Beecroft , Commodore Mauris Eno, weekend.
Explaining, Eno said that the arrest followed on activities of some suspected criminals who transport canabis and other illicit substances within the area through the waterways. “The suspected owners absconded before the navy patrol team got to the scene of the crime; as such no person was arrested.
The substance was packaged in 77 big bags and 23 medium bags, weighing about 4226.6kg with an estimated street value of over N40 million. “The navy under the leadership of the current Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas is determined to rid our waterways of all forms illegalities.
NNS BEECROFT is therefore committed to assisting the NDLEA deal with the issue of trafficking of illicit substance. “The Navy uses this medium to warn drug traffickers and other criminal elements particularly within our maritime environment to desist from these nefarious activities and pursue lawful means of livelihood”
Noting that the Nigerian Navy was responsible for the maritime security which included areas of pipeline protection and vandalism, was quick to add that prosecution could not be carried out without the NDLEA.
He informed that the handover of the recovered substance marked the end of Navy’s preliminary investigation of the case. Receiving the recovered substance, NDLEA’s Principal Staff Officer, Operations and Intelligence, Lagos State Command, Mr Lawal Isiaka, said that the agency would continue from where the navy stoppe, adding that it would also do all within its ability to curb the use and distribution of illicit drugs across Lagos state in particular and Nigeria in general.
Additional report from Vanguard