By Ochiaka Ugwu
Nigerian Merchant Naval Staff also known as Coastal Defence Force-Coast Guard has appealed to Federal government through the Ministry of Defence to equip them with necessary tools that will enable them combat sea piracy, police the water ways and collaborate with other security agencies in finding lasting solution to sea crimes.
In a letter to Minister of Defence, titled, “Request for the Final Implementation of Nigerian Merchant Navy” the Chief of Nigerian Merchant Naval Staff, Commodore I. Agaba noted the implementation of the activities of Merchant Navy will see to the corporation of relevant security agencies to meet the security demand of the nation and re-energize the military.
Agaba hinted the organization plays a great role in the development of national economy in transportation, fishing, oil and gas which he said contribute to GDP.
He said the revelations of International Maritime Bureau (IMB) that attack by sea bandits off the coast of West Africa are increasing and the United Nations Security Council observation that Nigeria was losing about $1.5 billion on a monthly basis to piracy necessitated the need to fully equip Merchant Navy.
He stated the organization has discovered the routes and hideouts of kidnappers, smugglers and channel of importing illegal firearms and major locations of illegal oil bunkering in which made them to appeal to be equipped properly with patrol vans, flying boats, rifles, logistics and other operational equipment that will enable them to arrest the situation.
Agaba informed that President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for the operations of new Maritime Security Nigeria merchant navy on the 20th of April, 2017 with equipment to enhance security on the waterways to complement other security agencies on 15th December, 2017.
Continuing, Agaba, who enumerated the economic gains of the organization, said among other things, that it will boost maritime trade as sea is the major route resource and development of the nation.
He concluded by thanking President Buhari for keeping his promise of securing the nation effectively.