Owing to incessant security threats especially Nigeria’s territorial waters and to boost maritime security, the United States of America has donated equipment worth over $180,000 to the Nigerian Navy to upgrade the anti-piracy and nautical security functions of the country’s Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC).
This was disclosed by the US Consulate, Lagos, in a statement.
It said the donation comprised a selection of best-in-class sensors and radars, communications and networking equipment, thermal-imaging cameras and software, which have been integrated to improve the NNs’ capacity to track and counter marine threats through its RMAC.
According to the Consulate, the equipment were handed over to the navy by Consul General Claire Pierangelo during a ceremony held at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT.
Quoting the Consul General, the Consulate said, “The United States is committed to supporting the Nigerian Navy in its efforts towards securing not only your territorial waters but the larger Gulf of Guinea. The equipment we have here today is part of the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (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.
“We previously transferred two ex-U.S. Coast Guard Cutters to the Nigerian Navy, now known as NNS OKPABANA and NNS THUNDER, which are proving to be key elements of your anti-piracy and maritime security efforts.”
Receiving the equipment, Chief Staff Officer (CSO) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Tanko Pani, noted the long-standing security cooperation between the United States and Nigeria, highlighting its impact on the Navy’s maritime defense capabilities.
“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.
The Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) was developed in 2006 to upgrade the maritime domain awareness capability of US partners. In West Africa, it is present in Sao Tome/Principe, Nigeria, Gabon, Togo, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.
Nigeria’s RMAC became fully operational in 2008. It has 5 radar sites located in Badagry, Lagos, Formoso, Bonny, and Ibaka, alongside operations posts at the three regional HQs in Lagos, Yenagoa, Calabar, and Abuja. The Nigerian RMAC Training Centre, Apapa, was also equipped by the United States Navy in 2019.