President Muhhamadu Buhari has reiterated the need for joint efforts to eradicate threats to maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The President made the call at the first ever Global Maritime security conference in Abuja where he was represented by the Minister of state for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada.
In his speech, while expressing sorrow at the fact that the ” the Gulf of Guinea is at the epi- centre of Maritime security discussions globally”, he however said ” available statistics however indicate that efforts to eradicate the menace by governments in the region are bearing dividends” citing the IMB Piracy reporting center report for second quarter 2019.
Buhari said the convening of the conference in Nigeria is an indication of Federal governments resolve to tackle the scourge in the Maritime sector.
” We will not relent in our efforts to rid our waters of the Piracy scourge”.
“I reiterate the need for a 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”.
Meanwhile the Minister of state for Transportation ,Sen. Gbemisola Saraki in her address said strategies for training and capacity building of response teams to ensure quick response to threats and incidences in the Maritime Domain are being put in place. She also expressed confidence in recent legislation which according to her would enhance Maritime security.
” Nigeria in this regard put in place detailed legislation in the form of the suppression of piracy and other Maritime offences act which Mr President signed into law on the 24th of June 2019,this act will tackle and repress piracy and other maritime Crimes in the Nigerian Maritime domain”.
The Director General Nigerian Maritime and safety administration agency, Dakuku Peterside in his welcome address said seeing that Nigeria accounts for over 65% of the cargo originating from the Gulf of Guinea it was imperative that it spearheads the discussion on Maritime safety in the region.
” Considering the importance of the Gulf of Guinea and its navigational route, international course as well as global energy balance, Nigeria has taken the initiative by convening this global conference to examine Maritime security challenges in the region “.
The Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas expressed joy at another opportunity to discuss collaborative efforts saying that ” recent efforts by Nigeria in concert with its neighbours and partner nations have proven useful in containing the associated threats”. He also said ” consistent funding over the past four years has impacted positively on Navy’s surveillance and Maritime domain awareness infrastructure “.
The conference which is to last three days has as its theme ” Enhancing Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea: Together We Win”. About 78 countries are in attendance and over 40 professionals are expected to speak at the conference