Federal Govt Recommits To Harnessing $7trn Blue Economy Potential

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The federal government, on Thursday, said the Marítime Security Unit of the Deep Blue Project would solve the challenges stopping the country from harnessing the $7trillion inherent in the nation’s Marine and Blue Economy.

Speaking at the 2024 graduation ceremony of the advance combat training program for the Marítime Security Unit of the Deep Blue Project, the minister of Defense, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, said the officers have been equipped with necessary skills and knowledge necessary to confront Marítime Security challenges.

The officers are drawn from the Nigerian Navy, Army, Air Force, Police and the Department of State Service.

According to the minister, the trained officers have been prepared to address issues ranging from illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism, piracy, smuggling to illegal fishing and environmental protection.

The former governor of Jigawa state further argued that the waters surrounding our nation are vital arteries of commerce and national security and serve as gateways to economic prosperity that hold immense strategic importance.

“Your training has equipped you with the skill set and knowledge necessary to confront the complex challenges of maritime security. Therefore, you have been adequately prepared to address issues ranging from illegal bunkering,pipeline vandalism, piracy, smuggling to illegal fishing and environmental protection. Your role is indispensable in maintaining the integrity of our maritime boundaries and protecting our national interest.”

“Going by the demonstration at the range and the manoeuvre of the aircraft and armoured vehicles, I am highly convinced that these sets of graduates have gone through the requisite combat training and are prepared for the task ahead. As we reflect on the significance of this achievement, it is important to acknowledge the broader context in which you will operate.

“Maritime security is a collaborative effort, requiring coordination and cooperation with various national and international agencies. You will be amongst the frontline defenders, working alongside the Nigerian Navy, Maritime Police and other stakeholders to ensure a secured maritime domain,” the minister stated.

Also speaking, the minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, said the deployment of the deep blue platforms and assets in 2021 contributed to the drop of piracy and other Marítime crimes in the nation’s coastal water.

The minister said the deep blue project also contributed immensely to the removal of Nigeria from the piracy hot list by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

“Since the full deployment of the Deep Blue platforms and assets in 2021 within the Nigerian Continental Shelf, maritime security has been significantly enhanced. The project has contributed immensely to the significant reduction in piracy and other maritime crimes, thus enhancing safety and security in Nigerian waters.

“Sequel to this, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has removed Nigeria from Piracy Hot List. The achievement of zero piracy incidence in Nigerian waters since 2022 is quite commendable and we are committed to sustaining this with the combined effort of all key players.  It is to be noted that the United Nations Security Council, at its 905th meeting, acknowledged the progress made by Nigeria in maritime security with reference to the contributions of the deep blue project.

“Let me assure you all that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has demonstrated unwavering support for our maritime security initiatives, is resolute in his commitment to sustaining this momentum. His leadership and vision have been instrumental in our journey so far, and we are confident that his administration will continue to provide the necessary support and resources to ensure the enduring safety and security in our waters.”

Giving his opening remarks, the director general of the Nigerian Marítime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dayo Mobereola, also disclosed that Nigeria was delisted from the list of piracy prone countries in 2023.

He also stated that the agency will continue to seek collaboration in its quest to achieve sustainable security in the nation’s Maritime domain.

It is noteworthy that Nigeria was delisted from the list of piracy-prone nations last year after a sustained period of zero piracy attacks in Nigerian waters.

“Let me  commend the entire Deep Blue team for the progress made since its inception in 2019. It is noteworthy that Nigeria was delisted from the list of piracy-prone nations last year after a sustained period of zero piracy attacks in Nigerian waters.”

“With NIMASA providing the administrative and logistical support, and your valiant efforts on the frontline, I am confident that we will realise our collective aspiration of a secure and prosperous maritime domain, thus paving the way for the sustainable development of Nigeria’s blue economy,” the DG stated.

He further noted that the training of the officers prepares them to respond effectively to any challenges that may arise, thereby safeguarding the national interests as well drive the nation’s economic prosperity.

“The graduates of this continuous capacity development training will serve as guardians of our maritime assets, safeguarding our waters against piracy, illegal fishing, and maritime smuggling, and ensuring the safety and security of our marine resources. Their training in tactical shooting drills, operational demonstrations, and other essential skills prepares them to respond effectively to any challenges that may arise, thereby safeguarding our national interests and driving economic prosperity.

“The Commissioning of the Armoured Vehicle Workshop demonstrates our commitment to modernising and optimising our military assets, ensuring our vehicles are in optimal condition and ready for deployment at any time. For the graduates, this means access to reliable equipment, enhancing their operational capabilities.”

“Moreover, this development represents a sustainable approach to reducing our reliance on foreign maintenance services and cultivating self-sufficiency. The workshop will play a vital role in ensuring our forces have the necessary mechanical support to maintain operational effectiveness, thereby bolstering our national security and independence.”

“A few days ago, we witnessed a demonstration by the Maritime Security Unit in Lagos. This is a clear confirmation of the unit’s capability and readiness to tackle various maritime security challenges.

Furthermore, the Deep Blue Project emphasises the importance of collaboration and partnership, involving various stakeholders such as the entire Nigerian Armed Forces, the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, with NIMASA serving as the lead facilitator, and the private sector. We will continue to seek collaboration in our quest to achieve sustainable security in the Nigerian Maritime domain,” Dr Mobereola stated.

 

 

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