By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
Nigeria’s deployment of the state-of-the-art surveillance system, Falcon Eye, for maritime security would save the country billions of US dollars, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
Speaking at the commissioning of the facility, Osinbajo said deployment of the Falcon Eye would also effectively degrade piracy and other crimes around the Gulf of Guinea and beyond.“It is estimated that Nigeria loses several billions of dollars annually to various forms of criminality particularly piracy and sea robbery.
The escalated risks in some of our maritime areas insurance premiums for commercial vessels coming to these areas have risen sharply making maritime trade an unattractive proposition.
“This underscores the need to enhance our maritime security architecture. Consequently, a critical contribution of the FALCON EYE System will be the provision of actionable intelligence for curbing maritime threats to our economy.
“The maritime industry occupies a prominent position in the matrix of our vital economic interests and it encompasses activities ranging from fishing and resource exploration to marine research and shipping among other endeavours.
“Of all these activities, shipping stands out as a critical link in Nigeria’s international trade engagements because it is the cheapest and most efficient means of moving large volumes of goods.“Given our economic aspirations and our commitment to international trade, ensuring the security of shipping lanes within and proximate to our waters is in our national interest,” he said.
Emphasizing the critical nature of the surveillance system, Osinbajo said “the Falcon Eye System will serve as a force multiplier for our naval platforms tasked to effectively secure our maritime environment from external aggression. It will also enable the Nigerian Navy to effectively combat any maritime crimes that could disrupt the conduct of maritime trade.”