Failure to arrest pirates for three years has battered Nigeria’s maritime image ― Jamoh
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, has revealed that Nigeria’s failure to effect any arrest of pirates terrorising her waterways between 2016 and 2019 battered her image in the international community. This is even as he revealed that so far, 27 pirates have been arrested since he took over as DG NIMASA.
Addressing maritime journalists in his office in Lagos at the weekend, Dr Bashir Jamoh, explained that the agency swung into action following two letters received from the Presidency and the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government.
According to the NIMASA DG, “Immediately we came in, precisely around May 8th, 2020, we received a letter from the Presidency via the Ministry of Transportation complaining about a vessel that was attacked along with the nations coastal areas. After responding to that letter, we again received another letter on May 18th, 2020 from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, warning us that certain groups of multinational companies that trade within Nigeria’s waters have threatened to protest if Nigeria does not show seriousness in tackling her maritime insecurity issues.
“After responding to the second letter, we had to start studying the trend of events to see how we can tackle the issue of maritime insecurity in our waters. We then proceeded to synergising our relationships with other stakeholders that share similar function with us. As you are aware, we don’t carry weapons, so we started gathering intelligence and closing ranks with sister agencies like the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) as well as the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
“The result of all this synergy led to the arrest of ten maritime pirates by the Nigerian Navy and another set of seventeen maritime pirates by the NPF.
“Before now, precisely between 2016 till when we started effecting the arrest of pirates this year, Nigeria has never experienced the arrest of maritime pirates terrorising her waters. This affected the country’s image among the international community as many felt that the Nigerian government and its maritime administration are not serious about tackling maritime crime in her waters.
“However, within the possible shortest time since we took over and put all these synergies to play, we have arrested 27 maritime pirates all together. There were instances where we foiled attacks on ships by pirates, but the pirates abandoned the ship and ran away.
‘With the accenting into law of the Piracy Act by Mr President last year June, we hope to ensure these criminals are well prosecuted. It was due to these feats that brought about a commendation letter from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), commending us for what we have achieved so far within our short period of assuming leadership of Nigeria’s maritime administration.”