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NASS Targets Maritime Academy Upgrade

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The House of Representa
tives Committee on Maritime, Safety, Education and Administration, has expressed its readiness to work towards the development of the nation’s premier and only maritime training institution, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron.
Making this known during an interactive session with Academy’s Management at the institution recently, the Committee Chairman, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, said the committee is committed towards the overall development of the institution.
Bago, who stated that the purpose of the visit was basically to condole with the management, staff and students of the academy over the loss of their Rector, Dr. Joshua Okpo, and to familiarise with the academy’s management and environment, as well as perform their statutory functions. He challenged the management to speed up measures aimed at enhancing development and standards in the institution, for the benefit of the nation.
“You have to see us as partners in progress, we have to strengthen our institutions so that this country will move forward, we will make sure this institution is accorded a deserving status,” he stated.
Reiterating the committee’s displeasure over the number of uncompleted projects in the Academy, he said that academy’s contractors would be summoned to a meeting holding in Abuja, stressing that contractors who do not deliver their jobs within the stipulated time frame will have their contracts revoked and the funds recovered.
He warned that defaulters will be prosecuted by the appropriate governmental body, the Economic Financial Crime Commission which is saddled with that responsibility.
The committee chairman charged the management to see the committee as partners-in-progress, assuring them that before the end of his committee’s tenure, all the projects would have been completed, as no new projects will be embarked upon.
“From what we have seen during the facility tour, we have resolved that we will not approve any new project until the ones we have on ground are completed and by the grace of God before the end of my committee’s tenure all the projects will be completed,” he assured.
Bago however expressed worry over the poor utilization of the Academy’s products, in this case the Cadets, and called for suggestive measures to tackle the embarrassing situation urging the management to forward a formal request to the National Assembly for deliberation.
Also speaking, the House Member Representing Ikot Abasi/ Mkpat Enin/ Eastern Obolo Federal Constituency, Hon. Francis Uduyork said the Academy being one of the oldest Maritime training institutions in West Africa deserves to be upgraded to a University and charged the Management to generate a constructive and well-articulated proposal in that respect for presentation to the Committee.
“We as a Committee will work with you to ensure that this institution is accorded a deserving status. I believe this institution is one of the oldest of its kind in West Africa and so there is nothing wrong with it becoming a university, so your articulation in the proposal must be well constructed, so we can move this institution forward,” he stressed.
He averred that the Management could always count on the Committee’s support as the Committee will ensure that things are done rightly.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Registrar of the Academy, Mr. M. A. Mkpandiok had welcomed the visitors to the Academy, noting that their visit was timely given the present state of the institution.
Giving a brief history of the institution, he intimated the Committee that the Academy, despite its constraints, has over the years been able to produce competent personnel operating in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond as well as those marine personnel who drive the Oil and Gas Sector.
The physically elated Registrar expressed optimism in the Committee’s visit observing that it marks the beginning of better things for the Academy and called on the Committee to use the powers within the ambit of the law to upgrade the Academy to the enviable status deserving of an institution of 40 years standing.
Expressing hope in the Committee he said, “The Academy has delivered on its mandate of training competent personnel for the Maritime and Allied Industries, we have trained Master Mariners, Marine Engineers, Maritime Administrators and several other professionals. Development being a gradual process we still have a lot of challenges to surmount to be counted among the comity of maritime academies of the world. But we trust we can get there with your support,” he said.

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Maritime Insecurity: ANLCA Wants Govts To Engage Youths

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The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, has advised governments at all levels to engage youths in coastal communities to support security operatives in the fight against sea robbery and other crimes along the inland waterways.
Nwabunike made the call last Friday while presenting a paper at the 8th Nigeria Annual Transport Lecture organised by Transport Day Newspapers, in Lagos.
In the paper tagged “Blue Economy: Pathway For Nigeria’s Economic Diversification”, the ANLCA boss reiterated the need to engage youths in coastal communities in the fight against piracy and other crimes on the waterways.
According to him, “Government should, as a matter of policy, involve youths of coastal communities in a kind of Civilian Task Force to support the Navy and other security agencies in nipping our maritime insecurity in the bud”.
Nwabunike noted that the nation’s maritime domain was insecure due to inadequate security platforms like patrol boats, aircrafts and supporting technology gadgets, as well as lesser number of personnel to implement or enforce adherence to security on waterways.
According to him, maritime piracy, sea robbery, oil theft, kidnapping on waters have been copiously recorded in the domain that should naturally contribute to the nation’s economic well-being.
“I am almost tempted to say that our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is no longer exclusive to us because the people I choose to call maritime bandits are threatening our space.
“I am aware that the Federal Government through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency is rising to the occasion with planned deployment of advanced security assets to energise our blue economy. I believe it will work if consciously sustained. This they tagged the ‘Deep Blue Project’.
“It is anticipated that this move will go a long way in fighting piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea and our country’s entire territorial waters”, he said.
The ANLCA President pointed out that safety of vessels, cargoes and crews on the maritime space  have direct impacts on the overall economy since the maritime sector is critical in the areas of trade, investment, employment and recreation.
He affirmed that the 853km Nigeria coastline runs through seven southern states of Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers bordering the Atlantic Ocean, adding that these are aside other states that are linked by inland waters for copious socio-cultural and commercial activities.
While urging the government to look beyond oil and gas to sustain the economy, Nwabunike said that the Nigerian maritime industry, being the nation’s second highest revenue earner, has the potential of cushioning the temporary effects of inadequate oil revenue.

 

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Pirates Abduct Five Seafarers

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No fewer than five seafarers have been kidnapped by suspected sea pirates in the Gulf of Guinea onboard a sea vessel.
The pirates attacked a vessel code name F/V ATLANTIC PRINCESS with IMO number 8124412 at 65 nautical miles in South Tema, Ghana.
This was contained in a travel advisory issued by an international agency, Dryad Global, at the weekend.
The vessel was understood to have been approached by one speedboat with eight pirates onboard. The vessel was reportedly fired upon prior to being boarded by five armed men. It was later hijacked and sailed south to a distance of 100 nautical miles before pirates departed the vessel, the agency said.
Among the abducted seafarers are three Chinese, one Russian and one Korean.
Dryad Global said, “This latest attack ends a significant hiatus of activity within the Gulf of Guinea. This latest attack is the first kidnapping incident since 15th March, 2021. Thus far within 2021, there have been 56 personnel kidnapped across five incidents from vessels operating within the Gulf of Guinea.
“This latest incident represents the furthest westerly kidnapping within the Gulf of Guinea to date. Trends across the past 18 months have indicated a broadening of the piratical footprint within the Gulf of Guinea, beyond the traditional heartland of the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)”.
The agency went further to say that “Reports from crew members indicate that two hours prior to the attack, a rusted looking mini tanker vessel was sighted far off the horizon with the AIS off. The vessel is understood to have manoeuvred away from the suspicious tanker.
“Further but unverifiable reporting indicates that the crew had identified the pirates as Nigerians. Given the significant distance of the incident from Nigerian waters, it remains a realistic possibility that the vessel sighted by the crew was being used as a mothership from which to launch and sustain deep offshore operations”.
Recall that the assets acquisition and installation phase of Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project moved towards completion with the delivery of one of the two special mission aircrafts for the project.
The Cessna CJ3 Citation jet for maritime surveillance was received in Lagos ahead of the scheduled launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, commonly called the Deep Blue Project, on May 21.

The Deep Blue Project aims to prevent illegal activities in the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), enforce maritime regulations, enhance the safety of lives at sea, and prevent illegal activities in the inland waterways.

 

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Nigeria’s Security Challenges Require More Actions, Less Talk  -Naval Chief

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The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Awwal Gambo, says the nation’s security challenges now require more actions and less talk from the security agencies.
The Naval Chief stated this during a visit by the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, to the Defence Headquarters, recently.
In a statement signed by the Director, Information, Press and Public Relations to the AGF, Henshaw Ogubike, the Chief of Naval Staff was quoted as saying that the security challenges in the country were not insurmountable, but required more action, less talk.
The AGF, in his remarks, acknowledged the enormous responsibility saddled with the Nigerian Navy and other Armed Forces, and assured them of the continuous support of the federal treasury.
According to him, the nation’s treasury will ensure timely release of funds to the Armed Forces to enable them secure the country’s territorial waters and sovereignty.
“The Nigerian Navy and other Armed Forces have kept the country one in terms of discharge of their duties. Your responsibility is enormous, you need every support.
“We will continue to support you by giving you the necessary tools for you to deliver”, he assured.
Idris congratulated the Naval Chief on his recent appointment and stressed that no effort would be spared to sustain the cordial relationship that is existing between the Nigeria Armed Forces and the federal treasury.

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