The Chief of Staff of the Navy (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, has stated that there is a need for better interagency cooperation between all stakeholders in the territorial waters of the country for the proper management of the maritime domain and strengthen the local level.
Speaking to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Plateau State during the ongoing Security Study Week for Senior Executive Course participants, SEC 44, the CNS also sought the official launch of the National Maritime Strategy by the federal government saying such would strengthen the relevant agencies to do more.
He bemoaned the existing capacity gaps in the maritime domain, the difficult working environment, the weak legislative and judicial regimes, as well as the limitations in the fleet support capacity, among others as factors that challenge the effective management of the nation’s maritime domain.
The Chief of the Naval Staff who spoke on the topic, “Management of Nigeria’s Maritime Domain: Implication for Strengthening Local Government in Nigeria,” Gambo, represented by Vice Admiral Saidu Suleiman, emphasized that local government is a real tool for rural development in Nigeria and the role of the Nigerian Navy also influences government activities at that level.
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His words: “There are issues and challenges associated with the management of Nigeria’s maritime domain. The existing gaps in maritime awareness capacity, difficult working environment, weak legislative and regulatory regimes, limitations in fleet support capacity.
“Insufficient capacity for special operations has inactivated MoUs on maritime cooperation, non-operationalization of the National Maritime Strategy.
“The NN does not have a standard base throughout the Niger Delta where many of the challenges of local governance exist. For example, NN operates from under-equipped bases located far inland, away from the creeks.
“While the Nigerian Navy and Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies (MLEAs) have made a commendable effort in arresting and prosecuting maritime offenders, loopholes in the country’s judicial processes have often been exploited by these criminals.
“The collaboration between NIWA and NN’s Hydrography Department, facilitated by the Sea-Link project, has resulted in the ongoing investigation of the lower Niger, connecting several local communities from Lokoja to the Atlantic Ocean. When completed, the project has the potential to transform transportation, economic activities and local governance in affected communities.”
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CNS calls for enhanced inter-agency cooperation between stakeholders in the country’s territorial waters