Maritime Safety: Buhari calls for joint effort in fight against piracy in Gulf of Guinea

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  • President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday called for joint efforts to rid our water-ways, particularly the gulf of Guinea, of the piracy scourge and other water related crimes.

He made the call on Monday October 7, 2019) during his address at the Global Maritime Security Conference, with the theme: “Enhancing Maritime Security in The Gulf Of Guinea” held at the International Conference Centre Abuja.

According to Buhari,”With the world’s waters accounting for over 80% of transportation requirements in the global trading supply chain network across established international routes and trade lanes, the threats of piracy and armed robbery at sea are issues of global concern.

The President who noted that the Gulf of Guinea encompasses divers geographical, geological and rich cultural heritage with many of its states endowed with vast oil and gas deposits critical in addressing global energy demands, therefore called for joint effort because security in the Gulf of Guinea is vital and central to global trade in view of the fact that many critical trade routes connecting the rest of the world, run through the Gulf.

He informed that Nigeria on her part has put in place a Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, which he signed into law on the 24th of June, 2019. The Act, in essence, seeks to give further credence to the relevant international treaties of the United Nations and International Maritime Organisation ratified by Nigeria and the continental and regional treaties subscribed to on maritime safety and security. The law would provide the much needed legal and institutional framework for Nigeria to ensure safe and secure shipping in Nigerian waters, he added.

Furthermore, as a government in Nigeria, we have put out in place an Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Protection Solution with Command and Control Infrastructure and the deliverables from the project have bolstered Nigeria’s maritime security architecture and increased monitoring and compliance enforcement within the Nigerian waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone, Buhari said.

Adding that the Nigerian Navy has also steeped up collaborative effort with other maritime security agencies aimed at achieving a safe secure maritime domain.

Buhari who commended the Federal Ministry of Transport, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy for their leading role in planning the conference on behalf of Nigeria, also informed that work is ongoing on the Maritime Transport Plan, and Strategy, which when completed, will provide a robust enabling framework for achieving Nigerian Maritime objective.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas said that the conference has provided another opportunity to harness collaborative initiatives towards curbing the maritime security challenges in the region with greater urgency.

He also informed that the Nigerian Navy has sustained the operational concept of Maritime Trinity of Action comprising surveillance capabilities, response initiatives and law enforcement to combat maritime crimes.

The Global Maritime Conference which is the first ever global maritime security conference will end on Wednesday.

The Dignitaries who attended the conference are :Director General/CEO NIMASA, ECOWAS President, Executive Secretary,  GOC Commission, AU Commissiion Chairperson, Secretary General, IMO, Chief of Naval Staff of Nigeria and his counterparts from other countries. Others are; Minister of Transport, Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi, Hon Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Salimi Magashi and other panelists.

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