By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
The Nigerian Navy has disclosed that it arrested 206 vessels and barges as well as hundreds of suspects for various maritime offences in the last four years.
This is just as it noted, that these arrests were made possible due to consistent funding over the past four years, which has impacted positively on the Navy’s surveillance and maritime domain awareness infrastructure.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas who made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of the Global Conference on Maritime Security in Abuja, noted that the establishment of naval security stations at strategic locations along the coast as part of a ‘Choke Point Concept’, to checkmate illicit activities, also helped in several arrests.
According to him, the Navy in conjunction with maritime law enforcement agencies has also articulated a harmonized procedure to enhance the synergy among stakeholders in the arrest and prosecution of maritime offenders.
The Navy Chief added that the efforts have increased regional collaboration, resulting in more vectored patrols and increased efficiency in naval operations.
On the Conference, he said thus, “It is indeed a noble and patriotic act to bring together Maritime stakeholders to explore options for improved security and maritime governance within Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea at large.
“The current security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea are of serious concern to all including the larger global community, as criminal activities at sea are directed at the economic life and development prospects of our individual countries and the African continent, at large”.
He further stated that recently, there have been increasing calls for improved collaboration and enforcement of maritime security laws by regional partners and stakeholders towards enhanced maritime security within the region, adding that the Navy has over the years focussed on improving its capacity to underwrite maritime security within Nigeria’s immediate waters and across the Gulf of Guinea.
He also pointed out that with the gains so far achieved, Nigerian Navy intends to consolidate current collaborative efforts, sustain fleet renewal and expand its maritime awareness infrastructure.
While acknowledging the efforts of other stakeholders, he stated that there remains a huge gap in the capacity of navies and coastguard of the region to address the prevailing threats.