The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, says sea piracy has declined by 80 per cent in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

Mr Jamoh disclosed this in a statement signed by the Secretary, Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Tunde Olalere, on Thursday.

The DG stated this when the executive members of the NUJ, led by its Chairman, Adeleye Ajayi visited the NIMASA headquarters in Lagos.

According to the director-general, 783 million dollars has been lost to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

“We have recorded a drastic reduction in piracy and this is enough for us to beat our chest that we are ready to return to the category ‘C’ of membership of International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

“However, the year 2021 has witnessed a significant turnaround under my leadership as insecurity on Nigerian waters has reduced by 80 per cent,” he said.

Mr Jamoh revealed that the last time the country had a drop in piracy attack in the nation’s waterways was in 1994, saying that Nigerian waterways was one of the top 10 safest waters in the world.

He noted that this achievement was enough reason to sensitise and inform the international community that the Nigerian waterways was now safer than ever before.

He stated that Nigeria must take its rightful position among comity of nations globally.

“We want the cost of Insurance Premium paid by Nigerians as a result of insecurity to be reconsidered as insecurity in the country’s waterways has drastically reduced,” Mr Jamoh said.

He lauded the agency for working toward the actualisation of the Blue Economy, bringing to reality the aim and target of the agency to harness to the maximum.

“We have eight coastal states in the country and we want these states to develop their potentials in order to contribute to the country’s revenue,”Jamoh added.

In the area of professional reportage, the director general appealed to journalists to be mindful of what information they released to the public.

“Our priority as a nation should be striving to project positive reports that will project Nigeria in better light to the international community, as done in advanced countries,” the NIMASA boss said.

Mr Jamoh said that journalists, especially those covering maritime beats should always hear both sides of a story before going to town with information.

“We cannot achieve much without the media, especially in the area of educating people.

“The role of the media in any society cannot be overemphasised, as no agency or society can function effectively without them because the media helps in shaping public opinion.

“Another election in the Global Maritime Industry (IMO) will hold in November and I urge the media to showcase achievements of Nigeria to the world to put Nigeria at the forefront globally,” he said.

Mr Jamoh lauded the efforts of 19 other African countries, including Nigeria at tackling social vices in the Gulf of Guinea.

The director general described the visit as a home-coming for Mr Ajayi, who served as President, Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria, MARAN, between 2009 and 2011.

Mr Ajayi had earlier assured NIMASA of adequate publicity of its activities, as well as robust relationship between the Lagos Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists and NIMASA.

He lauded NIMASA for giant strides in the maritime sector, which included safeguarding of Nigeria’s waterways and collaboration with sister agencies of government.

It also lauded the agency for the donations worth millions of naira to the Internally Displaced Persons’ Camps and victims of disaster in the country.

The NUJ chairman, therefore, presented pressing issues of the union before the management of the agency, not forgetting to seek sponsorship for its fast-approaching Press Week scheduled to hold in October.

NAN