• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Nigeria seeks regional support to fight piracy in Gulf of Guinea

piracy

Worried by the increasing rate of piracy and other illegalities in the Gulf of Guinea that houses the nation’s waterway, Nigeria has expressed its readiness to support any regional initiative geared towards eliminating the scourge of piracy and maritime crimes in the area.

Dakuku Peterside, the director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) pledged the support at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)/Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA) sponsored integrated sub regional coast Guard function network held in Brussels, Belgium.

Peterside, who led Nigeria’s delegation to the IMO/MOWCA meeting, noted that the country’s readiness to support such initiative was based on the fact that crime at sea, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, is transnational, which makes regional integrated approach the most suitable for checking the menace.

“Nigeria with the longest coastline in the continent is mostly affected by the activities of these criminals. If the continent and maritime actors do not rise up to tackle piracy, it will affect commerce which is the driver of growth and by extension hamper development,” the NIMASA boss pleaded.

According to him, Gulf of Guinea has become notorious as one of the top three locations where pirate activities occurs globally, thus leading to high freight rate, insurance cost and ports of call for vessels owing to perceived high maritime security risk in the region.

“Three things are important in any regional initiative to fight piracy and they include human capacity, infrastructure, legal and organisational framework,” the NIMASA DG added.

Peterside further briefed delegates on Nigeria’s efforts in tackling and mitigating piracy saying “apart from military led patrols on our territorial waters to deter the criminals and high intelligence and surveillance network, Nigeria with the assistance of the IMO is pushing for early passage of a dedicated anti-piracy bill to provide the needed legal framework to tackle maritime related crime.”

Stating that the federal government has given its full support to the fight against piracy and he however, called on all West African government to show greater interest in dealing with maritime crimes in the region, which according to him has adverse economic and reputational impact on member nations.

The summit was declared open by Fifi Kwetey, the President of Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), who is also the current Transport Minister of Ghana.

Addressing the summit, Alain Michel Luvambo of Angola, the Secretary General of MOWCA said the summit is a follow up of the MoU signed by 16 coastal member states of MOWCA at its 13th General Assembly of Ministers, which was adopted by the African Union commission, and United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. He said the MoU approved the setting up of a sub-regional coast guard function.

The meeting was aimed at bringing together partners, development agencies/donors, funders, financial institutions, shipping operators and maritime administrations across Africa and Europe, to pull resources together to finance the regional coast guard function and National Maritime coast guard institutions.

The summit was attended by Ministers of Transport from different African countries and maritime administrations from Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Liberia, Côte d Ivoire, DR Congo, Guinea, Ghana, Angola, as well representatives of African Development Bank (AfDB), Regional Maritime University Ghana, Regional Academy of Science and Technology of the Sea Abidjan, amongst others.

 

Uzoamaka Anagor-Ewuzie