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Piracy: Improved surveillance capacity, crucial to security of maritime domain – CNS

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The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral A.Z Gambo has said improved surveillance capacity is crucial to the security of the maritime domain in Nigeria.

Vice Admiral Gambo who was represented by Commodore Emmanuel Anakwe, mni, made the assertion while delivering a lecture on the effect of piracy in Nigeria at the national stakeholders and civil society summit held recently in Abuja.

The Naval Chief noted that the importance of the maritime domain to mankind is no longer debatable, adding that his assertion was premised on the facts that over 70 per cent of the world’s surface is covered by sea.

He pointed out that it was also estimated that the natural resources within the maritime domain of littoral states accounts for about one trillion United States Dollars (N500 trillion) annually.

Gambo therefore disclosed that the Nigeria Navy intends intends to continue to invest in MDA infrastructure as a force multiplier for enhanced operational efficiency.

He said,”The NN intends to continue to invest in MDA infrastructure as a force multiplier for enhanced operational efficiency. Evidently, improved surveillance capacity remains crucial to the security of the maritime domain and the completion of the ongoing Falcon Eye System as well as follow-on maintenance of the MDA systems will thus be critical lines of effort to enhance knowledge of the nation’s maritime environment for improved ocean governance.

“Effort is therefore on-going to integrate tactical and operational UAVs into the MDA systems to ensure all-round surveillance of the heavily forested back waters which are not fully covered by existing infrastructure.

“Additionally, the NN just took delivery of 4 fast interceptor boats and mobile command vehicle which are to be integrated with the Falcon Eye. The boats were acquired to further boost the NN response capability to complement the surveillance architecture of the NN.”

Gambo further said that Nigeria’s maritime environment will continue to be of strategic importance as long as oil continues to drive the economy of the world.

According to him, the environment, though rich in various mineral resources especially hydro carbons, is susceptible to piracy and other diverse contemporary threats, which portend dangers to the nation’s wellbeing and security if not curbed.

“The effect of piracy on the well being of the nation is undesirable as it negatively affects the image of the country, leads to withdrawal of foreign investment, affects maritime activities and increases maritime freight insurance premium.

“Accordingly, in a bid to engender sustainable exploitation and exploration of the nation’s Blue Economy potentials, the NN has taken proactive steps to address incidences of piracy and other maritime insecurity which has led to the eventual delisting of Nigeria from the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy List. Some of these efforts include the conduct of anti-piracy operations, acquisition of maritime surveillance capability, arrest and prosecution of pirates and regional collaboration.

“Despite the successes recorded by the NN, the Service is poised to do more and has been repositioned for enhanced operational efficiency through the upgrade of its MDA infrastructure, consolidation on existing regional collaboration and partnerships as well as consolidation on NN fleet renewal programme.

“On this note, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your rapt attention.  As we always say in the Nigerian Navy, onward together,” he said.

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