Vice President  Oshinbajo cutting the cake on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari  to launch the Falcon Eye Project in Abuja yesterday. President Muhammed... FG Says Falcon Eye Will Assist Navy to Combat  Crimes on Nigerian Waters
 
Vice President  Oshinbajo cutting the cake on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari  to launch the Falcon Eye Project in Abuja yesterday.
President Muhammed Buhari has said that the  The Falcon Eye System will serve as a force multiplier for Nigeria’s naval platforms, tasked to effectively secure the  maritime environment from external aggression while it would enable the  Nigerian Navy to effectively combat any maritime crimes .
The President stated this on  Tuesday during the launch of  the Nigerian Navy’s Falcon Eye at the Nigerian Navy Headquarters, Abuja.
 The Falcon Eye is a  maritime surveillance facility that incorporates various sensors located along the nation’s enormous coastline.Falcon Eye includes such facilities as radars, long range electro optic systems with thermal or night vision capability, automatic identification system receivers, weather stations and marine very high frequency radios for communication.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President Buhari said that the integration of the sensors into the Falcon Eye system generates a real-time situational awareness of the activities of vessels in Nigerian maritime domain and some selected parts in the Gulf of Guinea.
“This will enable the Nigerian Navy generate a comprehensive intelligence picture of activities within our maritime environment for further analysis before, in appropriate cases , dispatching a Nigerian Navy Ship for interdiction, investigation, and/or subsequent arrest of erring vessels.
According to President Buhari, Falcon Eye is a crucial project because the maritime industry occupies a prominent position in the matrix of Nigeria’s vital economic interests and it encompasses activities ranging from fishing and resource exploration to marine research, 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.
“In addition, Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources, which are largely domiciled in our maritime environment, remain the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy as it accounts for 55 percent of our GDP, 95 percent of our export earnings, and about 70 percent of government revenue.”
President Buhari said that in recent years some key identified threats within Nigeria’s maritime environment have taken on more harmful dimensions to the country’s economy and affected the safety of citizens and commercial entities that use the maritime domain.
He listed these threats to include piracy, armed attacks on ships, kidnapping for ransom, crude oil theft, smuggling, as well as illegal unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU).
According to him, It is estimated that Nigeria loses about $26.3 Billion annually to various forms of criminality particularly piracy and sea robbery.
“On account of 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.“
President Buhari said that his administration has demonstrated a clear commitment to building the capacity of our strategic institutions to secure Nigeria’s coastal waters and the precincts of the country’s maritime neighbourhood.
“On the 24th of June 2019, I assented to the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill.
“By this Act, Nigeria became the first country in the West and Central African Sub-Regions to promulgate a stand-alone law against piracy, which is an important international requirement set by the International Maritime Organization as part of measures to guarantee secure global shipping.
“The Act provides the much-needed legal and institutional framework to improve maritime security and ensure safe and secure shipping in Nigerian waters. Last year, we commenced prosecution and secured our first convictions under this law.
“Last month, I conducted the launch of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project.
“The Deep Blue Project is a maritime security initiative of the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Defence implemented by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“It combines air, land and sea assets with operational components constituted by the Navy as well as other branches of the Armed Forces, the security services and law enforcement.”
The president said that these initiatives have significantly increased Nigeria’s capabilities in the areas of maritime surveillance and criminal interdiction within its territorial waters.
Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo said that the “significance of the event arose out of the need for national maritime security architecture that would leverage modern technology to enhance the safeguard of the immense hydrocarbon, living and other mineral resources in the nation’s maritime domain.
“For the kind  indulgence of Mr president, I beg to recall, that the significance of today’s event arose out of the need for national maritime security architecture that would leverage modern technology to enhance the safeguard of the immense hydrocarbon, living and other mineral resources in the nation’s maritime domain.