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19 Vessels, 3 Helicopters, 4 UAVs Others Deployed For Execution Of Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project In Gulf Of Guinea

Nigeria’s has acquired a total of 17 Fast Intervention Vessels, 2 Special Mission Vessels, 2 Special Mission Aircrafts, 3 Special Mission Helicopters 4 Unmanned Aerial Vessels (UAVs) and 16 armored vehicles for the execution of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise called the Deep Blue Project.

The Deep Sea Project also has a Command and Control Centre known as the C4i Centre which is located at a Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) facility in Lagos.

The facility is jointly manned by officials from all the arms of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, NIMASA personnel and para-military agencies who are part of the project.

Director General of NIMASA Dr Bashir Jamoh, told the House of Representatives Committee on the Navy that though the air, sea and land military assets were acquired and owned by the agency, they are manned and operated by the various military services towards enhancing the security of commercial shipping in the Nigerian maritime domain.

Towards the execution of the project, NIMASA signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with such agencies especially the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Army. They are to ensure maritime security in Nigeria’s territorial waters and Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

Dr Jamoh spoke on Wednesday when the agency’s management appeared before the House Committee on Navy currently investigating the Deep Blue Project contract awarded to the HLS International Limited by Nigeria.

In his presentation to the Committee, Dr Jamoh said that the agency acted in line with approval from the Federal Executive Council for NIMASA to fund the Deep Blue Project at the cost of $195 million dollars with a management fee of 10 per cent, adding that the funds invested in managing the assets since their deployment is appropriated for by the National Assembly.

The NIMASA head also disclosed that the Korean Government has identified with the Deep Blue Project, adding that “the Korean Government is delighted at the concept of the Deep Blue Project and has promised to support Nigeria by donating a vessel to increase itsfleet under the project. The government of Japan has also joined by pledging support via funds.”

Chairman of House Committee on the Nigerian Navy, Yusuf Gagdi had commended the Management of NIMASA for its commitment to transparency in its execution of the Deep Blue Project.

“We in the Committee of the Navy commend your Management team at NIMASA for providing all documents we have requested for. It shows that you have nothing to hide”. Our desire is to ensure public funds are spent not only in public interest but in accordance with the provisions of the laws of the land,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has disclosed that Nigeria has received an international recognition in form of an award from the African Union for the concept of the Deep Blue Project.

Speaking on Tuesday when he appeared at the investigative hearing on the Deep Blue Project contract by the House of Representatives Committee on Navy, the Amaechi said necessary approvals were secured before the implementation of the Deep Blue Project.

He said, “I was to be in Nairobi last week as, the African Union gave us award for the Deep Blue Project. Presently, the crime rate on our waters and the Gulf of Guinea region has gone down. Before now, we ranked number one in the world, but, since the deployment of the HLSI project, piracy has gone down drastically.”

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