By G9ija

Air assets acquired under the Deep Blue Project, domiciled with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency are set for deployment by the Nigerian Air Force in support of the Federal Government’s maritime security effort.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, made this announcement when the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, paid a working visit to the Nigerian Air Force headquarters in Abuja, according to a statement issued by NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications, Philip Kyanet.

The statement titled ‘Maritime security: NIMASA, Air Force set to deploy assets for Deep Blue Project’ was emailed to our correspondent on Thursday.

The NIMASA DG requested adequate arrangement to receive and deploy the two special mission aircraft expected in the country in the next few months.

Jamoh commended the Nigerian Air Force for its commitment to capacity development.

He was quoted to have said, “We have received two Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAV, and the two special mission aircraft are expected to arrive Nigeria before the end of the year.

“The challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the special training for the personnel to man these air assets, but we have found a way around it. We will continue to seek your partnership to secure the Nigerian maritime domain.”

Jamoh revealed that 17 fast interceptor boats, 15 armored vehicles, and two special mission vessels were some of the land and marine assets already on the ground.

He said all hands must be on deck to secure the country’s maritime environment and change all negative narratives.

Responding, Air Marshal Abubakar said the NAF had maintained a longstanding cordial relationship with NIMASA, with an MOU on Maritime Air Surveillance and Intelligence signed in 2013.

He said, though the MOU had elapsed, the NAF had continued to play a crucial role in maritime security, working closely with the Nigerian Navy, and NIMASA, according to the statement.

Abubakar said the Air Force would do everything in its power to partner with NIMASA on the Deep Blue Project, saying the Federal Government was doing everything possible to secure Nigeria and Nigerians.