President Muhammadu Buhari has said the Federal Government remains determined to rid the country’s waters of all forms of criminalities, stressing that with the cooperation of the international community, the entire maritime domain of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) would be free from piracy.
He spoke , yesterday, in Abuja in his keynote address at the opening of the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC).
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 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 Guinea.
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 essential.”
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.