Air Force sets to deploy war planes to fight piracy

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set to deploy its war planes to fight piracy on Nigerian waters.

Indications to this effect emerged yesterday at the sensitization conference for maritime stakeholders on the partnership between it and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Under the new working arrangement between both parties, NAF airborne assets namely the ATR 42 MPA, the Mi-35P, Augusta Light Utility Helicopters, and where necessary, Alpha Jet aircraft and associated platforms, will be deployed to complement NIMASA’s other collaborative efforts with other government agencies to fight criminal activities on the nation’s territorial waters.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu said with with the NIMASA/NAF partnership, there is no hiding place or impunity perpetrators of illegal activities on the nation’s waterways.

“With this partnership, we are to see more synergy, more effectiveness on safety and security on our coastal water.

“On the level of piracy, we are expected to see tough time for piracy, oil theft, sea robbery and other illegal activities because by the time we deploy all the platforms we will be able to monitor happenings on the coastal water.,” the NAF chief who was represented by Air Vice Marshal Adebowale Odunlade, stated.

In his speech at the event, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi said in fulfilment of the mandate of the agency to secure maritime domain, conduct search and rescue, maritime safety and effect compliance to regulatory obligation; the agency decided to partner the Air Force to make Nigeria waters safe from illegal activities.

He said, “When there is an operation or reported case of piracy or oil theft and there is need for immediate intervention and boats may be sluggish to produce the desired results, the Air Force will be called upon. For search and rescue which we know may be time bound, spontaneous action is imperative.

The NIMASA DG also assured that his agency will to keep to its own side of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both organisations.

“We won’t shy away from the obligation we are to meet in the MoU, support them where necessary so that at the end of the day we will have stability on our territorial water. One of the obligation of the agency is to provide logistics, not forgetting that air operation is very expensive. We will give financial support and share intelligence with them,” Akpobolokemi stated.