PIRACY: Combative steps must be taken, to eradicate this cancer- Dakuku
AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY Dakuku Peterside, DG NIMASA on Friday AT THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE COMMAND, CONTROL COMPUTER COMMUNICATION INFORMATION SYSTEM (C4I) CENTRE, on August 16 in Lagos
I am deeply honoured to welcome you to the official opening of the C4I operational centre of Integrated Maritime Surveillance and Security Infrastructure -the Deep Blue Project of the Federal Government.
We stand today at the beginning of the conveyor belt of the security mechanism that has been designed and built to further improve the security in our waters.
This has truly been a journey, with every step and milestone achieved bringing us to this exact moment.
In order to better focus and put in context the significance of this occasion, permit me to refer you to events that have led to the Deep Blue Project.
Nigeria Is one of the eight countries whose coastal waters form the Gulf of Guinea. The Gull of Guinea ls home to two regional economic blocks: the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
It holds a significant percentage of the world’s total oil and gas reserves as well as a rids deposit of natural resources. The Region’s potentials as a resource wider and tactical contributor to national growth cannot be overemphasized.
Nigeria accounts for around 70% of the maritime economic activities that occur in the region with Nigeria having the highest number of port calls in the region and over 5,000 ship calls comprising of Product tankers. crude oil tankers, LNG carriers and general cargo vessels and Tankers operating in her Exclusive Economic Zone annually.
Nigeria’s potential for economic growth is bolstered by her increased drive to reduce dependence on crude oil and chase alternate sources of GDP growth leading to the renewed focus on the Maritime Sector which has erect potential to lift the country to economic growth and stability.
In recent times, the Gulf of Guinea has been a source of concern to the international community due to the high levels of insecurity plaguing the region, with the Nigerian Maritime Domain having the highest numbers of security Incidents in the region.
It is given that insecurity is a major deterrent to existing and prospective businesses.
Therefore combative steps must be taken in order to eradicate this cancerous elements that can sap business confidence in the country with Nigeria’s economic life wire depending strongly on its Exclusive Economic Zone and the Gulf of Guinea due to the volume of economic activities that take place in the region.
The present threat posed by the insecurity in our Maritime Domain accompanied by the need to support the economic renaissance of the nation led to the Isl-ministerial collaboration of the Federal Ministries of Defence and the Federal Ministry of Transportation under the supervision of the Office of the National Security Adviser to the President. The aim of the collaboration was to develop a robust Maritime Security architecture comprising all Military and Security
Services in order to ensure a conducive and sustainable environment for maritime businesses.
It is this collaboration that gave rise to the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection infrastructure-The Deep Blue Project of the Federal Government.
You would agree that surveillance and intelligence gathering are critical components in the drive to improve maritime safety and security. Furthermore. the efforts and resources that have been committed to the project show the seriousness and commitment of the Agency and the Nigerian Government to the course with every step taken inching us ever closer to our vision of a safer marine environment that will engender improved maritime activities. wealth creation and economic development for our dear nation.
The Deep Blue Project was designed as an early detection coastal security system with the aim of preventing illegal activities by identifying and analysing suspicious activity at the earliest possible moment. The system does this by using a wide range of sophisticated air, marine and land assets in this security mechanism, the Oil Operational centre stands as the central nerve from which all actionable information needed by all other components of the project emanate. The Centre will serve as we base for situational intelligence for the Deep Blue Project. with 40 personnel broken down into Operators, Intelligence Officers and Shift Supervisors manning the centre.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is commendable that what started as an initiative has come to fruition and we are delighted to be part of it. The Federal Government through its Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as the various formations of the Nigerian armed forces have shown great commitment to this project and have placed high expectations on it in meeting the aspirations of the Nigerian maritime Industry Central to this project is the 0“ Centre which is officially and effectively taking off today.
Let me reassure our esteemed stakeholders and guests that the days and years ahead portend good tidings for the Nigerian maritime space.
Let me also challenge the operators. intelligent officers and shift supervisors to realize that the success or otherwise of this centre depends largely on you as the coordinating centre of operations of the Deep Blue Project. You must therefore be on top of the game with high commitment, accountability. professionalism, integrity, excellence. leadership. discipline and most importantly. be a team player.
Also the feat would not have been accomplished without the professional expertise of the Home Land Security International (HLSI) who have unequivocally expressed their desire to give us a world class facility.
It is on this note that I want to congratulate everyone who has been and would be instrumental to the success of this project. We salute you our distinguished stakeholders and guests for finding time to identify with us at this epod’I making event. it is indeed a new dawn for the Nigerian Maritime industry. it is a new dawn for Nigeria.