NIMASA, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, condemned the abduction of eight Nigerians, five of whom were members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN.
Bashir Jamoh, the director-general of NIMASA, stated this in a statement issued Saturday in Lagos by the agency’s spokesman, Osagie Edward.
Mr Jamoh stated that the kidnapping occurred on Monday in Rivers State waters.
He expressed regret that the incident occurred at a time when the Nigerian maritime industry was making tremendous strides in the country’s maritime security sector and was being lauded for its achievements both locally and internationally.
“I have spoken with Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, President-General of the Nigerian Maritime Workers Union, to convey the agency’s outrage over the incident and unequivocal condemnation of this heinous development.
“I also assured him of the agency’s continued support during this trying time until the abducted maritime workers are safely returned to their families and the industry,” he added.
He noted that the MWUN President, who stated that his team would be in the area of the incident by this weekend, welcomed NIMASA’s show of solidarity and support as a maritime family member.
Mr Jamoh stated that NIMASA was also monitoring the events and their Deep Blue assets, particularly the C4i and intelligence operations centers.
He stated that the public would be kept informed of progress in due course.
Mr Jamoh stated that the agency was aware of the presence of sea pirates and the activities of other marine criminals fleeing the intense heat in the nation’s territorial waters as a result of the Deep Blue Project’s enforcement.
He emphasized that the Deep Blue Project’s personnel would ensure that all waters in the coastal states were covered during their daily patrol in order to nip any criminal activity in the waterways and creeks in the bud.
Additionally, the director-general assured that the Deep Blue Project’s Special Maritime Intelligence Unit would increase its antenna in engaging youth at the creeks, utilizing the agency’s carrot and stick policy to wean them away from marine-related atrocities and crimes.
Mr Jamoh stated that the agency would continue to explore partnerships with littoral state governors to educate youth about the unprofitability of marine crimes.
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According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the eight victims were on their way to Port Harcourt from the Kula area of the Akuku-Toru Local Government Area when the gunmen struck at the Kula-Abonnema waterway.