The Federal Republic of Nigeria has signed an Exchange of Note(E/N) with the Japanese Government for an Economic and Social Development Programme involving the acquisition of High-Speed Boat to reinforce services for coastal security in Nigeria, with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, as the implementing partner.
The Japan Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi signed on behalf of the government of Japan while the Minister of state, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba ably supported by the Director-General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, signed on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In his speech, the Minister, said “it is my honour and privilege to welcome you all and to make this remark on this occasion of the Signing Ceremony of Exchange of Notes on the Japanese Government Aid of ¥300 million (equivalent of $2.78 million) for the procurement of High-Speed Boat for the Economic & Social Development Programme to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This project is to reinforce the operations and service for coastal security in Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA). strengthen the partnership between the Government of Japan and Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“Deep Blue Project, otherwise called the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, Nigeria appears to be more prepared to wage war against piracy and other related maritime crimes on the nation’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea as well as strengthen Nigeria’s counter-piracy efforts.
Agba further said, “it will be recalled that Nigeria’s recent removal from the Piracy list by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) as a result of collective efforts of various stakeholders within and outside the country as well as support from the International community, has promoted the image of the country to the rest of the world.
Jamoh lauds intervention
In his Goodwill message, at the ceremony, Jamoh said “Nigeria and Japan have had good diplomatic relations since 1st October 1960. We have over the decades continued to strengthen our economic ties, especially during this current democratic dispensation”.
“I have had the honour of visiting His Excellency, the Japanese Ambassador to deliberate on issues of maritime security; NIMASA has also had the privilege of hosting the Japanese Defence Attaché in Nigeria including Japan’s active participation at the recently concluded 5th Plenary of the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) which is the Maritime Collaboration Forum for the Gulf of Guinea held here in Abuja.”
“It is, therefore, appropriate to say that Japan has always had a front-row seat at the table of all discussions and efforts in Nigeria’s quest for improved maritime security. You are truly partners indeed.
“And today you have proven through this action that Japan is putting her money where her mouth is. And we commend you not only for this gesture but for your resounding partnership.
“This High-Speed Boat is a welcome addition in our growing arsenal of platforms and assets to reinforce service for coastal security not only in Nigeria but also in the Gulf of Guinea as over 60% of shipping activities is for the region pass through Nigerian waters.
“As you may already know that this will be incorporated into the Deep Blue project which already has 2 special Mission Vessels; 2 Special Mission Aircrafts; 3 Special Mission Helicopters; 10 Unmanned Air Systems and vehicles; 17 fast-moving interceptor boats; 16 armoured vehicles and the C4i centre.”
“Given the volume of trade between both our countries, it is certainly not out of place for Japan to extend a gesture of this magnitude as part of contributions to the security of our maritime domain.
Jamoh further said, “Let me use this opportunity to also commend a similar recent gesture of maritime security asset support extended to Nigeria by the Republic of Korea as part of their contribution to keeping the waters of the Gulf of Guinea safe. It is a reflection of the global goodwill Nigeria is gaining in recognition of the efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to protect the lives of seafarers and the Blue Economy in general.”
Even the International Maritime Bureau has recognized the progress recorded by Nigeria as unprecedented in nearly 30 years and has removed Nigeria from its Red List of Piracy-infested countries.
And for the first time, Nigeria has gone for almost 6 months without recording any attacks in our waters since January of 2022 to the end of June of 2022.”
Ambassador Kazuyoshi praise NIMASA’s Deep Blue Projects
Ambassador Matsunaga Kazuyoshi in his remarks said, ” it has been a year since I resumed my post as Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria. Over the past year, I have seen steady progress in various areas of the Japan-Nigeria cooperation, including agriculture and infrastructure. Over the ten years, Japan has established and maintained a consistent partnership with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to strengthen and improve economic and social development. The economic and social development planning project(procurement of High-speed Boat) that we are signing today marks the extension of the Japan-Nigeria partnership into the field of maritime security and maritime law enforcement.”
On Anti-Piracy Measures, the Ambassador said “in the Gulf of Guinea, as you know, the piracy problem is hindering the economic development of the coastal areas. A slowdown in economic development impoverishes the coastal population, forcing some of them into piracy for their livelihood. We need to break this vicious circle. During a recent visit to NIMASA’s Deep Blue Projects C4i Operation Centre in Lagos, I saw that NIMASA’s monitoring activities have steadily reduced the number of piracy incidents and that the Nigerian government’s anti-piracy efforts are beginning to show results.”