Key players in the maritime sector have lauded the initiative of the Nigerian Navy towards enhancing inter-agency collaboration and harnessing the potentials of the maritime domain.
The stakeholders gave the commendation on Friday in Calabar at a sea trip, organised by the Naval War College, Nigeria, for participants of Course 7 and other security agencies and maritime stakeholders for inter-agency collaboration.
Speaking, Mr Chancellor Egbufor, Unit Head, Corporate Affairs, Inland Waters Authority (NIWA), said that the initiative of the Navy to embark on the sea trip with maritime stakeholders was a welcome development.
Egbufor said that such collaboration and exchange of ideas by maritime stakeholders would further enhance proficiency in service delivery, better collaboration at sea and also foster unity along the line of duty.
He said that in view of the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures (HSOP), the collaboration would also help to promote economic activities in the maritime sector.
“The function of the Nigerian Navy in the maritime sector can never be neglected because the Navy is the chief architect of security in the waterways.
“This collaboration will help us to know our lines of duty and what is expected of us at all times as key players in the maritime sector,” he said.
Mr Ikpi Eni, an official from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said the agency had always enjoyed the warm collaboration of navy.
Eni said the agency had worked together with the navy in the area of arrest of suspected traffickers and rescue of victims.
“As we all know, NAPTIP does not carry arms and we are dealing with human traffickers that are well armed.
“So our collaboration with the Navy has helped us a lot because they have handed over several suspects and victims to us.
“Most of the traffickers convey their victims through the sea, so our collaboration with the Navy has impacted greatly on us in the area of arrest and rescue of victims,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Obi Ogboaka, a legal practitioner and a representative from the Nigerian Bar Association, Calabar, said if the synergy was done constantly, there would not be friction among the security agencies and stakeholders in the maritime sector.
“If this collaboration is sustained; it will go a long way because even in the court we won’t have difficulties with conflicting reports from maritime stakeholders.
“The initiative by Navy to bring all these agencies together, including the Immigration, Customs, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIWA, NAPTIP and others is laudable,” he said.
Commandant of the Naval War College, Nigeria, Rear Adm. Saheed Akinwande, said that the aim of the sea trip was to expose the participants to sea experience in the maritime sector.
Akinwande said that no single agency could tackle security alone, hence the need for the Navy to work with other maritime stakeholders with a view to tackling the myriads of security challenges in the maritime sector.
“We believe that when maritime stakeholders and the Navy synergise, there is an equal understanding, information sharing and vision to keep our maritime space safe for socio economic activities to thrive,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that after the sea trip, the Naval War College Course 7 participants gave a brief of their experience at sea, especially in the area of arrest of illegal petroleum product, and arrest of suspected child traffickers amongst others. (NAN)