(TRADE NEWSWIRE): The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has said that capacity building initiatives and sectoral reforms are critical elements that can address maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea, TRADE NEWSWIRE reports.
Peterside made this position known in a paper presented at a G7 high level meeting on maritime security in Rome, Italy. The NIMASA DG noted that despite the security challenges being faced in the region, lots of concerted efforts with Stakeholders and other government Agencies have been put in place to check the menace.
In a statement obtained by TRADE NEWSWIRE from the Head of Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Isichei Osamgbi, the NIMASA DG who is also the Chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administration, (AAMA), noted that piracy attack in the Gulf of Guinea has reduced tremendously as statistics shows that attacks on Oil and gas installations both onshore and offshore reduced from 36 in the first half of the year 2016 to nil in the corresponding period in 2017.
(The Gulf of Guinea): is the north easternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean between Cape Lopez in Gabon, north and west to Cape Three Points in Western region Ghana.
The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (zero degrees latitude and longitude) is in the gulf, and among the many rivers that drain into the Gulf of Guinea are the Niger and the Volta, while the coastline on the gulf includes the Bight of Benin and the Bight of Bonny.
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea affects a number of countries in West Africa as well as the wider international community, according to Wikipedia.
Peterside also stated that the Maritime security Architecture in the Gulf of Guinea has Political, strategic, Regional, Multinational and National Components which are aimed at enhancing the security in the region. The strategic operational headquarters to coordinate the implementation of the Maritime Security Architecture in the region are located in Abuja Nigeria, Libreville in Gabon, Luanda in Angola, Pointe Noire in Congo and Yaoundé in Cameroun.
The NIMASA DG also used the opportunity to urge leaders of countries in the Gulf of Guinea to effectively communicate developments in the region to international partners and also begin to put in place measures that translate measurable and visible results.
Speaking further, he said some of the efforts being put in place by the NIMASA to curb piracy activities in Nigeria includes; sponsoring Anti-Piracy Bill in the National assembly to enhance the legal framework to fight piracy, establishment of a NIMASA-Navy Maritime Guard Command Unit to enhance implementation of some of the provisions of UNCLOS Law, capacity building programme to enhance human and infrastructural capacity amongst others.
“Let me also inform you that as part of our determination to stamp out piracy and all forms of criminal activities, NIMASA is pushing for early passage of an anti-piracy law; the draft bill is before the Federal Executive Council ready to be sent to the National Assembly”, the DG said.
Peterside also hinted that that the Federal Government of Nigeria recently approved heavy investment in maritime security which includes; command and control centre, acquisition of special mission aircraft, special mission patrol vessels, special mission helicopters, specially trained Naval personnel among others.