Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Monday signed a security contract valued at $195 million with an Israeli firm for the procurement of security equipment to assist in training its operatives in tackling crime along the nation’s waterways.
Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, disclosed this at an event marking the annual World Maritime Day in Lagos mark the annual World’s Maritime Day. He, however, did not reveal the name of the firm but said the contract would commence in December and will last for a period of three years.
According to him, the Nigerian maritime domain is still facing security challenges, with more cases of attack and kidnappings being recorded this year, saying that an operator in the maritime industry spends about $18 million on a yearly basis due to insecurity on the nation’s waterways in addition to high insurance premium payable by shippers to do business Nigerian waters.
For example, world’s shipping giant, Maersk, in a statement to the Ministry of Transportation had indicated that between $15m and $18m is paid annually to security escorts to safeguard their vessels from one point to another on the Nigerian waterways.
“We should be able to deflate such costs by next year so that people can do their businesses on our waterways without any fear of being attacked or harassed,” the minister stressed.
Amaechi said the Israeli firm will train Nigerian security operatives in order to take over the procured security equipment after the expiration of the contract, adding that the equipment on the waterways will improve security and safe passage on the waterways. The Security operatives to be trained include Navy, Army, and Police forces.
Equally, Real Admiral Adeniyi Adejimi Oshinowo, commandant, Nigerian Defense College, emphasized the need for recapitalization of national maritime patrol capability so as to prove maritime safety in Nigerian waterways. He said concentrated efforts through inter-agency and cross-border collaboration on maritime security are required.