President Muhammadu Buhari says the Federal Government has secured 10 convictions for various maritime offences since the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act was signed into law in June 2019.
President Buhari said this at the official flag-off of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure in Nigeria also known as the Deep Blue Project at the ENL Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos.
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The President said the flag-off of the project marked an important milestone in the collective effort to tackle security challenges in the form of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea, stressing that the intervention will facilitate a conducive environment for the maritime sector to thrive and contribute to the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
‘‘I am confident that the project, which provides a robust maritime security architecture, will enhance maritime domain awareness capability and improve law enforcement action, particularly in the prosecution of suspects under the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act which I signed into law in June 2019.
‘‘This Flag-off is an important step in the continuing shift in strategic action about regional maritime security.
‘‘It will serve as a benchmark for member states in the Gulf of Guinea and other relevant stakeholders to further develop innovative strategies and align efforts with the subsisting framework to improve maritime security in the region,’’ he said.
Buhari, who called for greater collaborations among countries in the Gulf of Guinea to secure Nigeria’s waters and beyond, said the assemblage of the new maritime security assets was coming at a critical time when global discussions are centered on piracy activities and the new dimension it has taken in the region.
The President, who assured of government’s commitment to ensure the project’s sustainability in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, urged all critical stakeholders to work collectively for the greater benefit of all Nigerians, member states of the Gulf of Guinea and the global maritime community.
President Buhari, who witnessed the demonstration of a range of assets to tackle maritime security, supervised the naming of two Vessels, Deep Blue Abuja (DB-Abuja) and Deep Blue Lagos (DB-Lagos) by the Minister of State, Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki.