BY ANITA OKORO
The Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Japanese Government have signed an Exchange of Note(E/N) worth $2.78m for an economic and social development programme involving the acquisition of high-speed boat to reinforce services for coastal security in Nigeria, with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) designated as the implementing partner.
Clem Agba, Nigeria’s minister of state for Budget and National Planning, and Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, Japan’s ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Nigeria, signed on behalf of their countries, with Bashir Jamoh, director-general of NIMASA, in attendance, NIMASA said in a statement on Tuesday.
The statement signed by Edward Osagie, assistant director of public relations at NIMASA, quoted Agba as saying that the procurement of the high-speed boat worth $2.78 million would greatly enhance the operations of the Deep Blue project, which is domiciled in NIMASA, commending the Japanese government for its interest and interventions in Nigeria for economic development.
“This project to strengthen the operations of NIMASA will definitely strengthen the partnership between the Government of Japan and the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Agba said.
“Nigeria also appreciates the recent exchange of notes we signed for emergency improvement of electricity supply facilities in Abuja, and the role Japan played in the development of the national power development masterplan designed to guide the government on the optimal energy mix and efficiency for Nigeria,” he said.
NIMASA DG Jamoh assured the Japanese government that the agency would ensure the sustainability of the success recorded in the war against piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
“This high-speed boat is a welcome addition to our growing arsenal of platforms and assets to reinforce service for coastal security, not only in Nigeria but also in the Gulf of Guinea, as over 60 percent of shipping activities in the region pass through Nigerian waters,” Jamoh said.
“This vessel will be incorporated into the deep blue project which already has two special mission vessels, two special mission aircraft, three special mission helicopters, 10 unmanned air systems and vehicles, 17 fast-moving interceptor boats, 16 armoured vehicles and the C4i centre,” he said.
Kazuyoshi, on his part, noted that the project would support the measures adopted by Nigeria to deal with the threat of maritime crimes.
“In the Gulf of Guinea, as you know, the piracy problem is hindering the economic development of the coastal areas. A slowdown in economic development impoverishes the coastal population, forcing some of them into piracy for their livelihood. We need to break this vicious cycle,” he said.