Maritime Security: Concerted Global Cooperation will save the Gulf of Guinea- President Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for a concerted cooperation between the International community and nations in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) for the containment and possible elimination of piracy and other forms of criminalities from the maritime domain.
Buhari stated this in his keynote address to delegates at the opening of the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC) on Monday in Abuja.
The conference, the first on the GoG, was hosted by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, in partnership with the Nigerian Navy, to find solution to the security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.
The President, quoting statistics by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy reporting centre said that an analysis of recent data shows that efforts of government through several ongoing interventions for the security of the region is already yielding fruit.
He said that 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 remains 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 frameworks and resources in cooperation with critical stakeholders,” Buhari said.
Speaking also at the event, the Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi said the Conference is a deliberate call for “collaboration and partnerships” to curb the rising spate of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
He said Nigeria took the lead to bringing together nations of the GoG and other concerned stakeholders to ensure strategic regional response(s) to the challenge of security which has become inimical to trade in the region .
“No doubt, 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 reexamine the strategies and coordinated responses in place to address maritime insecurity.”
The minister called for “an appraisal of the relevance and impacts of the various interventions initiated already to tackle maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea” to revise and adapt them to address the current challenges.
He also called on maritime states within the region to enact laws as strong legal frameworks in the GoG region will help stem the tide of criminality.
He said the Nigerian government is focused on ensuring security within its waters for both passengers and cargoes and so have initiated efforts towards containing piracy and other criminal activities on Nigerian waters.
Amaechi said government “has put in place a Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act to tackle and repress piracy and other maritime crimes in the Nigerian maritime domain as well an integrated maritime security architecture with a command and control centre for effective policing of the Nigerian waters.
He explained that the security architecture christened the C4-I enhances domain awareness , is equipped with land, air and marine patrol assets for quick response and interdiction and ensures capacity building for military response teams.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, advocated a more profound global response to the issues of piracy and maritime criminality, saying this is the essence of the conference.
He said, “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.
He however stressed improved collaboration among navies from within the GoG as a pre-requiste to achieving the elimination of criminalities in the Gulf.
Secretary General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, in his goodwill message delivered by Assistant Secretary General Lawrence Barchue, stated 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,” he said.
Other speakers at the event include Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi (Rtd); Executive Secretary, Gulf of Guinea Commission, Florentina Adenike Ukonga; Chairperson, African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat; as well as the ECOWAS and ECCAS Presidents.
TNMN reports that the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC) 2019 draws participation from over eight countries with over thirty navies and various international maritime regulatory bodies including the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Posted on : October 8, 2019