Buhari Launches Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project
ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MUHAMMADU BUHARI PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE OFFICIAL FLAG-OFF OF THE INTEGRATED NATIONAL SECURITY AND WATERWAYS PROTECTION INFRASTRUCTURE IN NIGERIA (DEEP BLUE PROJECT) AT THE UNDERWATER WARFARE COLLEGE, NAVAL BASE OJO LAGOS, THURSDAY 10 JUNE 2021.
I am delighted and pleased to be here for this official flag-off ceremony of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure project in Nigeria (The DEEP BLUE project).
This project has been initiated to bolster the maritime security architecture and ensure greater enforcement action within Nigerian waters and beyond.
This assemblage of new maritime security assets is coming at a critical time when global discussions are centered on piracy activities and the new dimension it has taken in the Gulf of Guinea region.
With the world’s waters accounting for over 80% of transportation requirements of the global economy, concerted efforts and innovative actions are required to address attendant security challenges.
Therefore, the flag-off of the DEEP BLUE Project marks an important milestone in this regard and in our collective effort to tackle security challenges in the form of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. It is also a demonstration of government’s strong commitment to ensuring security.
This intervention, no doubt, will facilitate a conducive environment for the maritime sector to thrive and contribute to the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
The DEEP BLUE project is a critical step towards the realization of maritime security in the region, which underscores Nigeria’s commitment in providing the necessary framework and resources in cooperation with other nations and maritime users.
This is evident in the recently established Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Framework by Nigeria and the Inter-regional Coordination Centre Yaoundé through the facilitation of NIMASA/Industry Joint Working Group to tackle maritime security in the region.
This forum is to help galvanize regional and international efforts to ensure security in the Gulf of Guinea. Its main focus is counter piracy and armed robbery prevention by bringing together regional, international, industry and NGO partners to advance and coordinate near-term maritime activities, with a view to working towards a set of common operational objectives off the coast of west and central Africa.
I therefore, commend this initiative and use this opportunity to call on Member States and other stakeholders to join, and work collectively in pursuit of this common objective and most importantly, keeping our seafarers safe.
I am confident that the project, which provides a robust maritime security architecture, will enhance maritime domain awareness capability and improve law enforcement action, particularly in the prosecution of suspects under the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act which I signed into law in June 2019.
In this regard, I have been informed that since the coming into force of the law, ten convictions have been secured for various offences under the Act.
This Flag-off is an important step in the continuing shift in strategic action about regional maritime security. It will serve as a benchmark for member states in the Gulf of Guinea and other relevant stakeholders to further develop innovative strategies and align efforts with the subsisting framework to improve maritime security in the region.
I commend the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Honourable Minister of Defence, the Chief of Naval Staff, the Director General NIMASA, Members of the Steering Committee and the Project Management Team and all other government stakeholders who have worked together to bring this initiative of the administration to fruition.
As we begin the operationalization phase of the project, I wish to assure you of government’s commitment to ensure its sustainability and invites all critical stakeholders to work collectively in this direction for the greater benefit of all Nigerians, member states of the Gulf of Guinea and the global maritime community.
I hereby flag off the DEEP BLUE project.
Thank you and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria