Gulf of Guinea:Nigeria Advocates Collaboration to Address Maritime Security

Says Piracy Threat, Armed Robbery at Sea Issues of Global Concern.

By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News

ABUJA: With the world’s waters accounting for over 80% of transportation requirements in the global trading supply chain network across established international routes and trade lanes, the threats of piracy and armed robbery at sea have become issues of global concern.

Also, over  90% of the world’s international trade is by sea, thus making it non-negotiable to maintain safe, secure shipping in the seas and oceans.

These were the words of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari at the opening ceremony of the Global Maritime Security Conference ongoing in Abuja, where he called for collaboration to address Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea.

Buhari who made the call on Monday, noted that the convening of the conference in Nigeria, is an indication of efforts to rid the waters of the piracy scourge, adding that a collective effort from all stakeholders is essential.

The President who was represented by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada, stated that sadly, the Gulf of Guinea is at the epicenter of Maritime Security discussions globally, given the incidents recorded in the region.

According to him, “I reiterate the need for a joint effort because security in the Gulf of Guinea is vital and Central to global trade in view of the fact that many critical trade routes connecting the continent to the rest of the world run through the Gulf.

“Safety and security of sea transportation are critical to seamless trade and effective economic integration. Our approach, therefore, towards the realisation of Maritime Security in the region and other vital sea lanes is contingent on our collective effort and ability to put in place international, continental, regional and national framework and resources in cooperation with critical stakeholders,” he said.

He further disclosed that Nigeria has put in place a Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, signed into law in June 24, 2019, to provide the much-needed legal and institutional framework for Nigeria to ensure safe and secure shipping in Nigerian waters.

He added also, that his administration has put in place an Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Protection Solution with Command and Control Infrastructure, and are presently working on a Maritime Transport Plan, and Strategy, which when completed, will provide a robust enabling framework for achieving Nigerian Maritime objective.

Earlier, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, noted that there is a significant global concern on the rising spate of maritime insecurity and the perception that the Gulf of Guinea Region accounts for most of these cases. 

“It is for this reason that Nigeria has decided to take the lead on behalf of the Gulf of Guinea states in convening this Conference to examine the strategies and coordinated responses in place to address maritime insecurity”, he said.

Amaechi, who was represented by the Minister of State Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, noted that the absence of legal frameworks within member states seems to be a significant challenge in the regional effort to stem the tide, reiterating that Nigeria, has put in place detailed legislation, to tackle and repress piracy and other maritime crimes in the Nigerian maritime domain.

“An integrated maritime security architecture has also been emplaced with a command and control centre for effective policing of the Nigerian waters.

The initiative, encompasses three main components: A C4-I Intelligence system to enhance domain awareness; acquisition of land, air and marine assets for patrols, quick response and interdiction; and the retraining and capacity building of military response teams to effectively respond to threats and incidents within the maritime domain,” the Minister said.

It is pertinent to note that the Conference is an essential step in a continuing shift in strategic thinking about global Maritime Security and is expected to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to develop strategies to improve Maritime safety and security globally, with an emphasis on the Gulf of Guinea Region.

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