By Busayo Onijala
The U.S. has donated maritime security equipment worth 180,000 dollars (70 million) to the Nigerian Navy, the U.S Consulate in Lagos said in a statement on Friday.
The equipment is to enable the navy to upgrade the anti-piracy and nautical security functions of the country’s Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC).
RMAC was developed in 2006 to upgrade the maritime domain awareness capability of U.S. partners.
The consulate said that the equipment donated were integrated to improve the navy’s capacity to track and counter marine threats through its RMAC.
The donations include, “a selection of best-in-class sensors and radars, communications and networking equipment, thermal-imaging cameras and software.”
Claire Pierangelo, U.S. Consul General in Lagos who handed over the consignment at the Naval Station Beecroft, highlighted the U.S. government’s continued support of Nigeria’s maritime security.
“The United States is committed to supporting the Nigerian Navy in its effort toward securing not only your territorial waters but the larger Gulf of Guinea.
“The equipment we have here today is part of RMAC that began in 2006, aimed at enhancing the Nigerian Navy’s capacity to monitor and respond to the diverse maritime threats in your waters and the Gulf of Guinea,” Pierangelo said.
She noted that two ex-U.S. Coast Guard Cutters, now known as NNS OKPABANA and NNS THUNDER, were previously transferred to the Nigerian Navy.
Rear Admiral Tanko Yakubu Pani, Chief Staff Officer, Western Naval Command, Lagos, who received the surveillance equipment on behalf of the Nigerian Navy, acknowledged the long-standing security cooperation between the U.S. and Nigeria.
“It is pertinent to state that the introduction of the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability facilities in the Nigerian Navy has greatly enhanced our maritime policing efforts through intelligence-gathering patrols.
“We are indeed delighted and grateful for the continuous support of the United States,” he said.
Nigeria’s RMAC became fully operational in 2008 and has five radar sites located in Badagry, Lagos, Formoso, Bonny, and Ibaka.
It also has operations posts at the four regional headquarters in Lagos, Yenagoa, Calabar, and Abuja. (NAN)