Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) has said over 90 per cent of Nigerian waters and 100 per cent of navigable inland waters have not been surveyed and charted in a systematic manner.
Gambo spoke yesterday at a public hearing on a Bill to Establish the National Hydrographic Agency to carry out hydrographic and oceanographic surveys, including ocean meteorology for national defence and civil requirements.
The one-day public hearing was organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Navy, chaired by Yusuf Adamu Gagdi.
The hearing was also for a Bill to Establish the Nigerian Maritime Trust Fund for the purpose of training, provision of security equipment and related facilities, and enhancing the skills of the personnel of the Nigerian Navy.
Represented by Rear Admiral Chukwuemeka Okafor, the CNS noted that lack of navigational charts affects maritime security.
He said this also implied that there was lower than normal maritime activities in those areas at the detriment of the nation’s economy.
Gambo said the proposed Bill could not have come at a better time than now as its passage would bridge the gap in a short time.
The CNS said hydrography has national security implications and that it would be a national security mistake to put the proposed agency under civilian authority.
“When a sensor is deployed into the waters, every data regarding the body of the water is aggregated and separated, with the ones relevant for civil activities released to the relevant civil agencies, while the ones having national security implications are kept as classified information,” he said.
But other stakeholders at the public hearing disagreed over the leadership of the proposed agency.
They argued that it should be under civilian authority.
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