The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that the Deep Blue assets would be properly maintained to provide security for Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.
Dr Bashir Jamoh, Director-General of NIMASA, made the disclosure in a statement signed by Mr Edward Osagie, Assistant Director, Public Relations, on Sunday, in Lagos.
Jamoh was speaking at the graduation ceremony of Pilots and other air assets trainees under the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure.
At the graduation, 43 officers and men of the Nigerian Air force received certificates for specialised training as pilots and co-pilots for Special Mission Aircraft, Special Mission Specific Equipment Operators and Special Mission Aircraft Maintenance Technicians.
Other trainings were for operators of the Unmanned Aerial Systems, and C4i operators, for effective platform manning.
The NIMASA boss said that the graduation of the air assets crew was another significant leg of the Deep Blue Project described as “our grand intervention in the area of our nation’s maritime security”.
He appreciated the Nigerian Airforce for its commitment to the project, with particular reference to providing facilities in the country, including training of pilots and others to complete the training module, having successfully completed the technical component abroad.
“The challenge is not about deploying the assets, but about its maintenance and sustaining the tempo of the project so that it can outlive the present generations and continue to be of benefit to future generations.
“Thus, we reiterate the agency’s commitment to effective management of the assets,” he said.
Jamoh noted that the progress made so far was encouraging, and that intelligence gathering within the maritime domain had reached new heights with recent video evidence of improper ballast water discharge in the nation’s waters.
“This project, as you are aware, is the first of its kind and we are doing so many things for the first time as a civilian agency of government working with the Armed Forces. Our commitment is unflinching,” he said.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, said that the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project, had strategically repositioned the Nigerian Air Force.
Amao said that this was to effectively support NIMASA to provide an investment-friendly environment, through provision of adequate security
He commended the management of NIMASA for its commitment to seeing through the successful implementation of the Deep Blue Project.
“I must say that the graduation of these Nigerian Air Force personnel today, who will be operating alongside personnel from sister security agencies, resonates with the CAS’ vision to enhance and sustain airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national imperatives.
“I am glad to note that all these have strategically repositioned the Nigerian Air Force to effectively support NIMASA to provide an investment-friendly maritime environment through provision of adequate security,” he said.
Ondo state Deputy Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, on his part, commended the synergy between NIMASA and the Nigerian Armed forces to secure the nation’s territorial waters.