By Oko Ebuka
Sequel to the second quarter 2019 report on piracy attack released by International Chamber of Commerce, ICC, International Maritime Bureau, IMB, which placed Nigeria as the headquarter of piracy attack in the world, a specialist in Maritime Security, Captain Alfred Oluwasegun Oniye, affirmed that the report is true as the crime is continuously perpetrated by maritime experts who are unemployed in the maritime industry.
Disclosing this in a chat with Vanguard Maritime Report, Captain Oluwasegun said that the report is authentic because Nigeria is currently leading the Gulf of Guinea in the activities of piracy.
According to him, “Nigerian waters are not secured. And I must tell you, Nigeria is still the headquarters of sea pirate activities in the Gulf of Guinea and why this is increasing is because we have more unemployed seafarers. These boys are back to the creek. They will survive.
“As an Intel Officer, I already have over 50 recorded piracy attacks as a proof of these attacks in our water. If they said the reports are faults, they should give us proof because those who made this report have evidence. The whole world cannot be lying against Nigeria. We sail this water and we know what we are passing through every day”, he said.
On the issue of NIMASA
Captain Oluwasegun also calls for the total overhauling of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, by appointing marine professionals who know the rudiments of maritime business to enable the country actualize the potentials that are wasting.
“The industry is in serious mess. It needs overhauling. We need the right people. If you want to appoint a NIMASA DG, appoint a master mariner who understands the job perfectly. So when you don’t have the clue of what is going on in the industry, how do you want to manage it? Or you bring a historian to be the NIMASA DG, what does he know about maritime, he can’t feel the seafarer’s pain.
“We need master mariners or marine engineers. We need the professionals and we need the ministry of shipping or ministry of marine. If we can have ministry of aviation, we need ministry of marine if we only want to get it right in the country because the economy of the industry has not being tapped”, he explained.
Establishing Ministry of Shipping
The Captain equally suggested the removal of maritime industry from the auspices of Ministry of Transport to enable the industry properly manage of the blue sea economy.
“I still find it difficult to believe that at this stage we still have marine under Ministry of Transport. I don’t see any reason why this government cannot create a ministry for shipping. If aviation can stand on its own, then marine should stand on its own. We shouldn’t be under ministry of transport because marine is strictly a professional field which takes someone time to understand the depth before it can be managed.
“This industry controls 90 percent of the Nigerian economy, if they shut it down in a day, in the next 20 years Nigeria will not recover from it”, he concluded.