Senators move to establish Nigerian Coast Guard for marine security

The outfit is estimated to create not less than 5,000 jobs for Nigerians.

Nigerian senators [Tope Brown]

A bill to establish the Nigerian Coast Guard passed second reading at the Senate on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

Leading debate during plenary, Senator Eyakenyi Akon Etim (Akwa Ibom South - PDP) said the bill seeks to create a specialised security outfit to protect and secure maritime assets, and coastal waters.

The lawmaker lamented that Nigeria loses an estimated $2 billion annually to maritime security threats; with the activities of pirates, bandits, and smugglers impacting the cost of doing business.

"Increased insecurity on the Gulf of Guinea has hampered the free flow of goods and distorted trade, which in turn has adversely affected our economy," she noted.

Senator Smart Adeyemi (Kogi West - APC), speaking in support of the bill, said the establishment of the Nigerian Coast Guard would not only help maintain peace and security, but create economic opportunities.

"We must be looking at avenues that will help to create jobs for a large number of youths looking for gainful employment," he said.

Senator Etim had said during her presentation that the outfit would create not less than 5,000 jobs for Nigerians.

Senator Matthew Urhoghide (Edo South - PDP) also noted that the absence of a coast guard outfit has opened a gap that private entities are filling, leading to revenue loss for the government.

If created, the Nigerian Coast Guard would be armed and enforce laws and regulations on Nigeria's coastal waters, as well as prevent criminal activities, and preserve lives and property.

The unit would also rescue cargoes and vessels involved in accidents, and also investigate accidents on coastal waters.

The outfit would have a Board for policy formulation, and administered by a Marshall Commandant who shall be responsible for the day-to-day running, assisted by a Deputy Commandant.

"The maritime sector is the lifeblood of the Nigerian economy, as such a very important sector," Etim said.

The bill was passed for a second reading when it was put to a voice vote by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North - APC).

it was referred to the Senate Committee on Navy and Marine Transport to report back within four weeks.

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