Govt Depts Scuttled Anti-Maritime Crimes Agency

The demise of PICOMMS in Nigeria.

PICOMSS: How Feuding Govt Depts Scuttled Anti-Maritime Crimes Agency

By Senator Iroegbu

The Federal Government may have unwittingly shot itself on the foot in the battle against piracy, oil theft and other criminal activities along the Nigerian coast in 2012, when it was misled to scrap the best maritime security outfit ever set up in the country known as the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS).

THISDAY findings revealed that the multi-billion naira agency was inaugurated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and was chaired by Air Vice Marshall (AVM) Saliu Atawodi (rtd) to deal with increasing cases of maritime crimes, crude oil theft and bunkering in the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea.

The President was said to have requested that the National Assembly approve the setting up of a maritime security agency that will protect ships, oil facilities and ports in the Niger Delta region. The agency was expected to have wide-ranging powers, including superintending coastguard officials, inspect ships, arrest suspects and carry firearms within the region.

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