Maritime security: House Committee seeks alternate funding for Deep Blue project

Honourable Uduak Odudoh, the Acting Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Maritime Safety, Education, and Administration, called for alternate sources of funding for the Federal Government Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure Project, also known as the Deep Blue Project, which is domiciled under the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and currently funded by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

This was just as the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Dayo Mobereola, noted that the agency is committed to the sustainability of the project.

Shortly after witnessing the Maritime Security Unit (MSU) Operational Maritime Capability Demonstration in Lagos alongside the NIMASA Director General and the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, the Honourable Uduak Odudoh acknowledged that the Deep Blue Project has played a significant role in maintaining peace in Nigerian waters in recent years.

He added that the achievements of the NIMASA-Nigerian Navy partnership have elevated the country to a high international standing in maritime security. He noted that to sustain the project, it is time to seek additional sources of funding.

In his words, “At the IMO Conference last year, Nigeria was greatly commended for the fact that there has not been any pirate attack on our waters in two years.

“That feat was achieved through the efforts of the Deep Blue Project. When I looked at the budget, I saw provisions for Deep Blue Project management and sustainability.

“I want to commend NIMASA for this. However, it is pitiful that only NIMASA is funding this project. If a project like this is taken seriously, the issue of oil theft in the Niger Delta would be reduced to zero.

“We have no option but to look at the budget; if they require more funds, we would approve it for the benefit of suppressing security challenges in Nigeria.

“If maritime security is guaranteed, the revenue of NIMASA would increase, and by extension, that of NPA and others; this means more money for Nigeria.”

On his part, NIMASA DG Dr Dayo Mobereola restated the agency’s commitment to the sustainability of the project while addressing the men and officers of the Maritime Security Unit.

“This project has earned Nigeria international recognition by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), and we have been taken off the pirate list.

“The aim is to continue to sustain it, and we will continue to encourage the personnel of the Deep Blue Project. Keep it up, and we, on our own side, will continue to support you as much as humanly possible.

“Please don’t reduce your efforts, as we count on you to make the maritime space more secure. The President of Nigeria is counting on you, and the Honourable Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, is also in support of this project,” he said.

The Acting Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Safety, Education, and Administration, Hon. Uduak Odudoh, unveiled the aircrew accommodation renovated by the Deep Blue Project, while the NIMASA DG, Dr Dayo Mobereola, commissioned the interceptors’ marine workshop.

The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, and Executive Directors of NIMASA, among others, witnessed the demonstrations, which included various tactics such as boat formations, vessel boarding and overtaking with interceptor boats, rappelling and fast rope descents from helicopters, as well as hoist rescues.

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Source:

Tribune Online