PMB Demonstrates Political Will to Combat Maritime Criminalities
AS IMO, Gulf of Guinea Commission, ECOWAS, ECCAS pledge support
The President Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated that his administration has the capacity and the requisite political will to halt piracy and all such criminalities in the Gulf of Guinea, GoG.
Delivering his key note address at the Global Maritime Security Conference, GMSC, Buhari, represented by the minister of state, foreign affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, said he has done what is required to end all criminal activities on Nigerian waters and make the GoG safer.
In his words “In addition to the suppression of piracy and other maritime offences Act, my administration has also put in place an Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Protection Solution with Command and Control Infrastructure. The deliverables from the project have bolstered Nigeria’s maritime security architecture and increased monitoring and compliance enforcement within Nigerian waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone. The Nigerian Navy has also stepped up collaborative efforts with other maritime security agencies aimed at achieving a safe secure maritime domain”.
President Buhari noted that there has been a reduction in the rate of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea but called for greater cooperation among African countries to bring about safer shipping in the region.
According to him “The convening of this timely conference here in Nigeria is an indication that we will not relent in efforts to rid our waters of the piracy scourge. To succeed in our objective, a collective effort from all stakeholders represented here today is essential.”
The President said as Africa proceeds with the second phase of negotiations for the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), safety and security of sea transportation were critical to seamless trade and effective economic integration.
“Our approach, therefore, towards the realization of maritime security in the region and other navigational channels is contingent on our collective effort and ability to put in place international, continental, regional and national frameworks and resources in cooperation with critical stakeholders,” Buhari said.
The President disclosed that recent efforts by Nigeria to secure its waters are the enactment of a standalone anti-piracy law, in line with the requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the first of its kind in West and Central Africa, ratification of international treaties and the establishment of an Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Protection infrastructure.
Buhari also disclosed that the Federal Government was working on a Maritime Transport Plan intended to provide a robust framework for effective maritime transportation in the country.
In his remarks, Amaechi said collaboration was the most valuable solution to the issues of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea. The minister, who was represented by the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, stated, “The most valuable element at the heart of the solution we seek is ‘collaboration and partnership’. I have no doubt in my mind that this conference will push the realization of the security solution we seek for the Gulf of Guinea and the global shipping community.”
Dakuku, in his welcome address, called for a more profound global response to the issues of piracy and maritime criminality, saying this is the essence of the conference.
According to him “Nigeria has taken the initiative by convening this global conference to examine the maritime security challenges in the region. Nigeria is keen to drive this initiative because it is a significant destination in the international and domestic shipping map, accounting for over 65% of cargo generated from the Gulf of Guinea region and with rich endowments in oil and gas reserves.”
He identified the objectives of the conference to include defining the scope of coordinated regional responses to maritime insecurity vis-à-vis intervention support from external actors and partners, evaluating the relevance and impacts of the various interventions, and moving towards policy harmonisation and practical implementation through regional integration and cooperation as a principal method for delivering effective and efficient security in the region.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, said drawing from the total spectrum maritime strategy, the Nigerian Navy had sustained the operational concept of Maritime Trinity of Action comprising surveillance capabilities, response initiatives and law enforcement to combat maritime crimes.
Secretary General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, in his goodwill message delivered by Assistant Secretary General Lawrence Barchue, assured of IMO’s support for member-states’ efforts to enhance maritime security.
“Working together is something that IMO is fully onboard with; together we can team up to deploy resources from all stakeholders in order to comprehensively address maritime insecurity within the region,” Lim said.