Gulf of Guinea states losing billions of dollars to sea crimes, says PFSOFN
Countries in the Gulf of Guinea have lost billions of dollars to sea piracy, armed robbery, and other maritime-related criminal activities, Ignatius Uche, national chairman of Ports Facility Security Officers Forum of Nigeria (PFSOFN), has said.
According to him, criminal activities have posed significant threats to the economy and national security of states in the region.
Uche whose opening speech at the 2021 conference of PFSOFN at Asaba, Delta State was delivered by Gloria Ayika, national vice chairman, said the security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea states have impacted negatively on ports operations in Nigeria.
He said firm and unwavering action was needed as frontline officers in ports facility security to curb the threats and put them under control.
He insisted that actions that are tantamount to the evasion of rules and regulations in ways that aid maritime crimes must be vigorously fought and brought to a standstill.
Ayika, who doubles as the chairman of Niger Delta Maritime Security Area, said there are security challenges in the GoG states but the ports facility security officers are making deliberate efforts to improve their services at ports.
According to her, to improve the security services, there is a need for collaboration, hence the gathering of all ports security officers to share intelligence, which would aid in mitigating security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.
She listed armed robbery, sea piracy, illegal fishing, and bunkering as some of the criminal activities that are negatively impacting port operations in the GoG states.
As part of the success the body has made, she said, the group has arrested some stowaways and handed them over to different security agencies for prosecution.
She however commended the present leadership of NIMASA, which has helped in combating the crime rate at the high seas.
Bashir Jamoh, director-general of NIMASA, who was represented by Gloria Anyasodo, assistant director of ISPS Code Implementation Unit, told the ports facility security officers that the region has enormous potentials with great maritime business opportunities.
He encouraged the ports security officers to put in their best to curb maritime crime, noting that there have been so many attacks on high seas. He said the agency has prosecuted over 20 criminals in relation to maritime crimes.
Alkali Baba Usman, inspector-general of Police, said it is not only the maritime sector that is faced with security challenges but that the entire globe is battling with security challenges both on land and sea.
The police chief, who was represented by Ari Mohammed Ali, the Delta state commissioner of police, said businesses cannot thrive in an environment where security is challenged.
He noted that to mitigate the challenges, there must be collaboration with all security agencies as no one could combat as a single entity.
He said the 2021 national conference with the theme ‘Shaping the Future of Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea,’ was aimed at achieving safer waterways for the GoG states.