Akpobolokemi sounded this warning in Abuja during a reception organised for the new NIMASA Chairman, Lt. Col. Agbu Kefas (rtd.), last Thursday, the same day Kefas and other members of the NIMASA Board were inaugurated along with their counterparts in the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Kefas, according to Akpobolokemi, is an expert in catching thieves, especially in the creeks. Akpobolokemi said: “The days of pirates are over; also the days of oil thieves are over. Our obligation is to keep the industry free from crime.
“The only option left for the pirates is to repent; our new Chairman is a guru in catching thieves.”
Noting that NIMASA had faced serious challenge in confronting the criminals in the last few months, leading to the arrest of many, Akpobolokemi posited that the coming of the retired Army officer would embolden the Agency to get rid of the criminals.
“We’ll tap from his wealth of knowledge of security and experience; the success recorded in the past years will now be consolidated; the new board of directors will help to fast-track the development of NIMASA,” Akpobolokemi said.
He expressed optimism that in the next few years, no nation would be able to compete with Nigeria in the maritime sector.
He said that NIMASA would intensify its fight against pirates and oil thieves to stem criminality on the nation’s waters.
According to him, Nigeria lost over N445million between February 2010 and February 2011 to the criminals.
He said that NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy (NN) were collaborating to step up their anti-piracy war this year.
The International Maritime Bureau had reported that 56 piracy attacks occurred on Nigeria’s waters in 2010; 119 cases in 2011 and about 70 cases in 2012.
Akpobolokemi said that the decline in piracy attacks indicated that anti-piracy campaigns of NIMASA And the Navy were yielding positive results.
In his response, Kefas said that his appointment as NIMASA Chairman was another opportunity to serve the nation.
“Even when I left the military, I was always working closely with those in service to give them advice on how to move the nation forward,” Kefas said.
He said that, as a young man, he still had a lot to contribute to the development of the country, promising NIMASA that it would experience godliness in service during his tenure.
He urged the young people, especially those with criminal tendencies to turn a new leaf, stressing that the future belonged to them.
He also stressed that the NIMASA Board would work towards bring attitudinal change among the Agency’s workers to accelerate the process of developing the maritime industry and the nation’s economy.
Meanwhile, NIMASA says it has commenced plans on the proposed establishment of maritime institutions in four selected Nigerian universities.
A statement by the Head, Public Relations, NIMASA, Hajiya Lami Tumaka, gave the institutions as Niger Delta University, Amasoma, Bayelsa State; University of Lagos; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; and Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State.
The NIMASA Director-General was quoted as disclosing, while receiving the Vice Chancellors of the four institutions at the Agency’s head office in Lagos, that a consultant had been appointed to work closely with the authorities of the selected varsities to assist them in setting up the academic curricula of the proposed maritime institutions.
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