The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has condemned the kidnapping of eight Nigerians, five of them members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN.
The director-general, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, said this in a statement by the agency’s spokesman, Osagie Edward, in Lagos on Saturday.
Mr Jamoh said the kidnapping took place in Rivers State waters on Monday.
He regretted that the incident happened when the Nigerian maritime industry was witnessing tremendous gains in the nation’s maritime security sphere and were being commended for the progress, both locally and internationally.
“I have spoken with the President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, to express the agency’s displeasure over the incident and unequivocal condemnation of this unpalatable development.
“I also assured him of the agency’s support, during this challenging period till the abducted maritime workers are returned safely to their families and the industry,” he said.
He noted that the MWUN President, who said his team was moving to the vicinity of the incident by this weekend, welcomed NIMASA’s show of solidarity and support as part of the maritime family.
Mr Jamoh said NIMASA was also following the trend of the events, and their Deep Blue assets, especially the C4i and intelligence centres.
He said the public would be apprised of progress in due period.
Mr Jamoh said the agency was not unmindful of sea pirates’ presence and activities of other marine criminals who were running away from the intense heat in the nation’s territorial waters, courtesy of the enforcement of the Deep Blue Project.
He stressed that the personnel of the Deep Blue Project would ensure that all waters of the coastal states were covered in their daily patrol to nip in the bud any act of criminality in the waterways and creeks.
The director-general also assured that the Special Maritime Intelligence Unit of Deep Blue Project, would up its antenna in engaging the youth at the creeks, using the carrot and stick policy of the agency, to wean them away from marine-related atrocities and crimes.
Mr Jamoh said the agency would continue to explore its partnerships with the governors of the littoral state to sensitise the youth on the non-profitability of marine crimes.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the eight persons were traveling to Port Harcourt from Kula area in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, when the gunmen struck at Kula-Abonnema waterway.