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Dakuku restates Nigeria’s commitment to leading war against maritime crime in Africa

DG NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside

The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety
Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has declared Nigeria’s unwavering
commitment to its leadership role in the war on piracy and maritime crimes in
the Gulf of Guinea region, an area widely considered the global challenging
maritime crime base in Africa.

Dakuku made the declaration in a keynote address he delivered at a
symposium on Security in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) at the headquarters of the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in London.
The meeting was jointly organised by IMO, Baltic and International
Maritime Council (BIMCO), International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA),
International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Oil Companies International
Marine Forum (OCIMF), and the International Chamber of Shipping.
 It had in
attendance MDs and CEO’s of top multinational shipping, oil and gas, and
logistics firms.
Dakuku said the GoG countries were facing serious security challenges
that had affected their economies severely and, therefore, needed global
support and cooperation to tackle the problem.
He, however, said the location of the Gulf of Guinea held enormous
advantages, as it holds a significant percentage of the world’s total oil and gas
reserves as well as rich deposits of solid minerals, such as diamond, bitumen,
copper, uranium, granite, quartz, lead, fluorite, and marble.
Already, Nigeria has committed to the hosting of a Global Maritime
Security Conference (GMSC), which comes up in the country’s capital, Abuja,
from October 7 to 9.
Dakuku stated that the conference will afford the international
community a platform to develop actionable strategies to put an end to piracy
and other security threats in the African geological and maritime region.
The NIMASA DG, who is also Chairman of the Association of African
Maritime Administrations (AAMA), noted that the Gulf of Guinea occupied a
strategic location in international seaborne trade. It is home to two regional
economic blocs: Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), comprising 26 countries.
“It is, therefore, seen as a resource provider and critical contributor
to national growth and prosperity of the nations lining its coasts and even
those inward and with no shared boundaries, due to the access it grants to
them,” he said.
He disclosed that the region’s waterways were a key navigational route
for international commerce, connecting the Far East to countries in the North
and South of the Atlantic. “It is the hub of extensive Trans-Atlantic trade
linking Africa with Europe and the Americas,” he said.
Dakuku highlighted factors that made Nigeria strategic in the fight
against maritime crimes in the GoG region to include being the country with the
highest military contingent and might within the region, and a huge deposit of
oil and gas, which makes it a place of interest in international energy
Others are the geo-strategic location of Nigeria, and the country’s
big deltas, which are the largest in the world, with thousands of creeks.
The NIMASA DG said being the biggest economy and most populous country
within the region, accounting for over 65 per cent of cargo generated in the
area, Nigeria occupied a vantage position to lead efforts to solve the maritime
security challenges in the region.
While acknowledging that maritime insecurity had economic, social and
environmental implications for the region, Dakuku told the international
community that Nigeria was leaving no stone unturned in the attempt to overcome
the challenges.
He said it was this determination that led to the decision to approach
the menace through a total spectrum maritime strategy. 

The strategy involves
law enforcement, regional cooperation, response capability building, and
enhanced maritime domain awareness for all organs of government involved in
maritime security.
The DG declared that with the new initiatives, kidnapping and other
violent crimes in the GoG region could become history in a matter of months.
Highlighting the importance of regional and international cooperation in
the fight against maritime crime, Dakuku stated, “We have no option but to work
together, but we cannot have imposed solutions…
“NIMASA will also be hosting a Global Maritime Security Conference in
October to seek tailored short and long term solutions to strengthen regional
and international collaborations in the Gulf of Guinea.”
He noted that the implementation of an integrated national surveillance
and waterways protection solution with command and control infrastructure in
the Agency was part of the Nigerian government’s deep blue contract to enhance
security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Dakuku said it was Nigeria’s interventions that led to the establishment
of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Security Strategy (EIMS) and Inter-Regional
Coordination Centre (ICC) in Yaoundé. He also disclosed that Nigeria played a
leading role in the establishment of the African Integrated Maritime Security
At the operational level, Dakuku stated that NIMASA, through
collaboration with the Nigerian Navy in 2012-2013, established “Operation
Prosperity”, a security taskforce, among others, which had helped to reduce
criminal activities in the region.

 Other initiatives include the establishment
of a legal framework to fight maritime crimes through an anti-piracy bill. 

bill, when signed into law, will bring to bear appropriate sanctions on
offenders and deter perpetrators of maritime crimes,” he assured.
Nigeria will be hosting the global maritime security summit, themed
“Maritime Security and Global Trade Facilitation,” as part of its commitment,
along with its partners, to stamping out piracy in the region.
Thanking the international bodies and other regional partners for their
efforts to tackle maritime insecurity, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, Dakuku
called for more support in the fight against piracy and maritime crimes.
NIMASA is the Nigerian Government Agency responsible for ensuring safety
and security on the country’s waterways, among other mandates as enshrined in
the NIMASA Act, 2007.

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