By Chiazo Ogbolu
President Muhammadu Buhari said the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure Project, commonly referred to as the Deep Blue Project, was the benchmark for maritime security in the West Africa region. Center.
Buhari said this during the inauguration of the project on Thursday in Lagos.
He added that the project would facilitate an environment conducive to the development of the maritime sector and contribute to the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
He said the Deep Blue project is a critical step in achieving maritime security in the region and underscores Nigeria‘s commitment to provide the necessary framework, resources and cooperation with other nations and maritime users.
“The Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure Project, commonly referred to as Project Deep Blue, is being launched to advance the security architecture and ensure greater enforcement action in Nigerian waters and beyond.
“This assemblage of security assets comes at a critical time when global stealth is focused on piracy activity and the new dimensions it has taken in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Water represents over 80% of the transport environment of the global economy, and concerted efforts are therefore needed to address the anticipated security challenges.
“Therefore, the flag of the Deep Blue Project marks an important milestone in this regard and our collective efforts to address security challenges in the form of piracy and militant crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea,” he said. -he declares.
He stressed that this would serve as a benchmark for Gulf of Guinea member states and other relevant stakeholders to further develop innovative strategies and align efforts with the livelihood framework to improve security in the region.
He praised the initiative and assured his government’s commitment to the sustainability of the project.
“I am confident that the project which provides a robust security architecture will improve maritime awareness capacity and improve law enforcement measures, especially in the prosecution of suspects and the suppression of piracy and others. maritime offenses that I promulgated in June 2019, “he said. mentionned.
In addition, the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Ameachi, stressed that the financial and maintenance sustainability of the project would be developed by a committee charged with this responsibility.
Amaechi was pleased that the assets of the project have already been deployed to ensure security in the Lagos Secure Anchor Zone (SAA).
He commended the Ministry of Defense and the heads of the armed forces for their contributions throughout the preliminary stages of the project and encouraged them to maintain their support.
Defense Minister Major General Bashir Magashi said that with Project Deep Blue, security was guaranteed in the maritime sector and this would attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the maritime domain.
He described the C4i intelligence center as the heart of the project, adding that with the exploitation of C4i and the whole project, piracy in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the whole of space. shipping would be processed.
Magashi stressed the need to use the assets of the Deep Blue project wisely and advised that proper maintenance be provided to ensure that the benefits of the project are fully maximized.
Dr Bashir Jamoh, director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Security Agency (NIMASA), had earlier said that the project, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Federal Ministry of Defense, was being put implemented by NIMASA.
He said that with the deployment of Project Deep Blue assets, the country has entered another level of national security designed for full spectrum maritime security and better domain knowledge, using some of the latest technology.
“This effort to secure our waters will give Nigerians more leverage to exploit the enormous resources of our maritime environment and contribute to economic diversification,” he said.
According to him, the main objective of the Deep Blue project is to secure Nigerian waters to the Gulf of Guinea, and that the project has three platforms to fight against maritime security on land, sea and air.
Land assets include the Command, Control, Communication, Computing and Intelligence Center (C4i) for intelligence gathering and data collection.
“16 armored vehicles for coastal patrol; and 600 specially trained interdiction soldiers, known as the Maritime Security Unit. Maritime resources are two special mission ships and 17 rapid interception boats.
“The air assets include two special mission planes for surveillance of the country’s exclusive economic zone; three special mission helicopters for search and rescue operations; and four unmanned aerial vehicles.
“The Deep Blue Project is the first integrated maritime security strategy in West and Central Africa with the aim of combating cases of piracy, theft at sea and other crimes at sea,” he said. he declares.
Jamoh said the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Crimes Act passed by the Ninth National Assembly would now provide legal support for the prosecution and punishment of offenders, which was a challenge.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that Project Deep Blue has a central command and control center based in Lagos.
The center oversees a network of integrated assets, including two special mission ships and two long-haul special mission aircraft.
It also oversees 17 fast-response vessels capable of reaching speeds of 50 knots, three helicopters and four airborne drones, providing 24/7 coverage for the region. (NAA)
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