By Chiazo Ogbolu
Lagos, Nov. 19, 2020 The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday said that the government was addressing the issue of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
Amaechi made this known during an assessment visit to verify the status of maritime assets of the Deep Blue Project in Lagos.
He was accompanied by the Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ete Ibas; and the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh.
The Deep Blue Project, also called the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, is a maritime security project.
It aims to comprehensively tackle insecurity in Nigeria’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Gulf of Guinea.
According to the minister, no matter how embarrassing the situation is in the area, the most important thing is that government is addressing it.
“We have men who are determined to make things work and it will work,” he said.
He said that the deployment of the Deep Blue project assets would commence by first quarter of next year.
The minister said that while 80 percent of the assets had been delivered, the aircraft have yet to arrive the country.
“Every other thing has arrived and we hope to receive the helicopters by first quarter of next year, and likewise, training of the personnel has commenced,” he said.
In his contribution, Magashi said that they had always been prepared but their coming would further increase the preparedness of the Nigerian Navy and the security of the nation’s waters.
“We have commenced training of the naval personnel that will man the equipment and we hope to complete their training by next year,” he said.