The efforts to curb sea piracy and maritime criminal perpetration has yielded significant results recently, with the latest indicator being Nigeria’s exit from countries paying shipping war insurance premiums. With this war insurance premium, cargos heading to Nigeria pay significantly higher rates as a result of the increasing insecurity and piracy attacks. The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Gambo, whilst revealing this information, stated that the improved naval operations across Nigeria’s maritime domains, as well as the enhanced security architecture in the sea lanes had been pivotal in getting Nigeria removed from this list paying war insurance premium on ships in transit to Nigeria.
Vice Admiral Gambo pointed out that with this development, the insurance premium paired by cargos en route to Nigeria would be normal and on par with that of other countries. Also, the Nigerian Navy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) via the Navy Holdings Limited (NHL) and the Akewa Global Services for upgrade and reactivation of the Burutu dockyard, as well as the construction of Naval Logistics Base to be located in Burutu, Delta State. This MoU on the Burutu dockyard development is designed to be a Nigerian project, with a major issue of decongesting the challenges of land transport by the revival of inland waterway transportation, a project that has been abandoned since the 1960s.
President Buhari applauded for empowering the Nigerian Navy.
Also, CNS indicated his delight about the collaborative efforts of the MoU, noting that this development would play a significant part of enhancing maritime commerce, especially with the take-off preparations of the regional Sealink Inland Water Cargo Transportation. He noted that this would enhance the transportation of bulk cargoes, further boosting the non-oil economy such as solid minerals and agricultural exports. He indicated that the collaboration was promptly brewed by the desire to safeguard Nigeria’s maritime domain for socioeconomic development. He however added that this collaboration was the start of a better relationship between both parties, as well as the Burutu community. Upon explaining the basis and objectives of the MoU, Vice Admiral Gambo applauded President Buhari for ensuring the empowerment of the Nigerian Navy in actually using their constitutional mandate. He also lauded the Minister of Defense and Transportation respectively for their roles in ensuring safety in the maritime domain.
Chairman of Akewa Global Services, Chief Kenneth Donye, during his statement, recalled how the Burutu dockyard was first constructed by the colonial government during the early trade mission to the coast of the Niger Delta. This, be said, was very crucial to the lucrative rise of inland waterway transportation that existed up until the late sixties, when it witnessed a great decline. He applauded the Chief of Naval Staff for his approval of this partnership, which said would improve not only the security in this area, but also shipping activities for both the oil and non-oil industries.
Waterways development to improve living status within the regions.
Chief Kenneth, said this development would further enhance the living status quo of various communities within the Niger Delta, eastern and northern regions respectively, as cargoes would be transported via the River Niger and River Benue Inland channels. The Chairman indicated that he was most joyous as to the Naval security architecture which would be put into place in all the areas of operations to help de-stigmatize Burutu and its surrounding environment. This would improve local and international investment opportunities for the enhancement of wealth creation in the region.
He further explained that this development would help by putting activities on the several moribund inland and dry ports to boost commercial shipping activities in the northern and eastern regions. It was indicated that the host community had donated 10 hectares to the Navy for internal use as its Naval Logistics Base, as well as an additional 50 hectares for the Commercial Logistics Base which would enhance the commercial and security status quo within the areas of operation and this to be co-owned by the partnership, as well as the host community. He appreciated the efforts of NEXIM and Sealink for the operationalization of this relationship.
NEXIM to facilitate expansion of maritime logistics infrastructure.
Also at the signing ceremony, the Managing Director of Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Alhaji Abba Bello, noted that the bank involved itself in the maritime industry to facilitate the expansion of the maritime logistics infrastructure for the improvement of trade and commerce. On the huge capital investment required for the actualization of this project, Alhaji Abba Bello disclosed that NEXIM had signed an MoU with the AFRI-EXIM bank for a loan facility worth about $400 million, for the provision of infrastructural development in the waterways.