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Nigeria seeks global cooperation against piracy, other crimes at sea

R–L: Dr. Dakuku Peterside, DG, NIMASA; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; Ambassador Zubairu Dada, Nigeria Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Nigeria Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Ruqqayah Saraki; Representative of Minister of Defense, Hajia Nuratu Jimoh Batagarwa; and other naval representatives.

President Muhammadu Buhari has said the
Federal Government remains determined to rid the country’s waters of all forms
of criminality, stressing that with the cooperation of the international
community, the entire maritime domain of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) would be free
from piracy.

Buhari stated this on Monday in Abuja in his
keynote address at the opening of the Global Maritime Security Conference

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 issues in the Gulf of Guinea.

He said the efforts of the government to fight
maritime insecurity were already yielding fruit, quoting statistics by the
International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy reporting centre.

Minister of Transportation Chibuike Rotimi
Amaechi said global collaboration was the best answer to the problem of
insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea. And Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, called for
intensified global response to the security problems in the Gulf of
Noting that there had been a reduction in the
rate of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), Buhari stated, “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

The President said as Africa proceeded 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 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.

The President noted recent efforts by Nigeria
to secure its waters, including the enactment of a standalone antipiracy law,
in line with the requirements of the International Maritime Organisation (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 realisation of the security solution we
seek for the Gulf of Guinea and the global shipping community.”

Dakuku, in his welcome address, 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.

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.

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