This is in a bid to further secure the nation’s maritime environment and stem the ugly trend of sea-robbery, piracy, illegal bunkering and other sea-based crimes.
At the official signing of the MoU in Abuja on Monday, the Director-General, NIMASA, Mr. Ziakede Akpobolokemi, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh, acknowledged the need for cooperation in the discharge of maritime safety and security functions of the agency to the benefit of the country.
According to Akpobolokemi, the MoU as well as a similar one with the Nigerian Navy will help t0 tackle notable challenges militating against safe and secure shipping in the country, including limited assets to monitor and enforce maritime laws; rising incidences of piracy and armed robbery at sea; illegal ship-to-ship transfer of oil; illegal fishing and limited data on both fixed and floating facilities moored in Nigerian waters.
“The MoU encourages the Nigerian Air Force to provide tactical air support for sea-based operations against illicit operations of ships. The recent success of the anti-piracy operations involving the agency, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force has given an impetus to this agreement,” the NIMASA DG stressed.
He expressed appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan for granting an approval for the cooperation agreement.
On his part, Badeh pledged to avail the agency of the tactical experience and capacity of the NAF necessary to support the regulatory functions of NIMASA.
“The Nigerian Air Force is competent and willing to pursue the objectives of this MoU in the interest of our dear nation. Illegal operations of ships sabotage the Nigerian economy and require the cooperation of the Nigerian Air Force, NIMASA and all concerned to save Nigeria,” Badeh said.