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The European Union (EU) has commended the Nigerian government for its leadership in the Gulf of Guinea in the war against crime in the maritime sector.
The EU, through its Principal Coordinator for the Gulf of Guinea, Amb. Nicolas Martinez, also said that Nigeria was winning the war against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea because these efforts yielded the desired results.
The accolade came following a working visit to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA) by the EU Delegation which inspected the assets as part of the integrated infrastructure of National Security and Waterways Protection, also known as Project Deep Blue.
In a statement released Friday in Lagos by the Deputy Director, Public Relations, NIMASA, Mr. Osagie Edward, Amb. Martinez noted that the EU remained a committed partner in the Gulf of Guinea region and would continue to provide extensive and targeted assistance to strengthen key features of Yaoundé’s security architecture, while cementing the longstanding relationship between ECOWAS Member States and the EU.
“We support Nigeria’s leadership in the regional quest to end piracy and other maritime crimes.
“You can count on the EU as we fully support Yaoundé’s infrastructure. We urge Nigeria to share its experience with other countries in the region.
“It is evident from the results achieved so far that Nigeria, as a leader for other countries, is winning the war against piracy,” he said. .
Also speaking, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, noted that the recent removal of Nigeria from the pirate list by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) was the result of the collective efforts of various stakeholders in the inside and outside the country.
“It’s not time to party yet. Now at NIMASA the focus is on sustainability.
“Improved intelligence gathering and sharing among all stakeholders has played a major role in the results we are currently seeing.
“Our Deep Blue Project, the SPOMO Act, enacted by the National Assembly, the convictions of criminals under the SPOMO Act, the engagement of the Nigerian Navy and other military arms of the Nigerian Armed Forces, not to mention the support from the international community, everything has led to the reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
Jamoh said NIMASA is already looking to the future in its quest to achieve sustainability.
“We are working on an international conference on maritime sustainability which we will organize in Abuja later this year. In addition, a comprehensive National Maritime Policy for Nigeria is in preparation.
Commenting on the Deep Blue project, Jamoh revealed that the Japanese government pledged $2.4 million to support the Deep Blue project, just as the Korean government donated a warship to NIMASA to add to its the Deep Blue project fleet.
The Deep Blue project, also known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, was initiated by the Federal Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense while being implemented by NIMASA. Its main objective is to secure Nigerian waters up to the Gulf of Guinea.