The navies of both Nigeria and Ghana have collaborating to tackle the heightening insecurity in Gulf Of Guinea. The authorities of the Nigerian government and the Ghanaian government are adding up energies to make the Gulf of Guinea a secured place.
The Gulf of Guinea, an expansive Maritime domain covering about 13 countries has been bedevilled by criminality including piracy, vessel hijack, kidnapping, illegal fishing and oil bunkering and arms smuggling.
Hosting his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, at the Naval Headquarters, weekend, the Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, noted that the Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of the limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
Gambo who also declared open a technical session between both navies, observed that, “the threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally, undermines regional development and global trade“.
Notably, the transboundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region.
“It is believed that this engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden-sharing that is hinged on Cooperative Maritime Security Framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region.”
In his remarks, the Ghanaian Naval Chief lamented that the rate of criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea is becoming alarming and needs the collaboration of the navies of the countries within the Maritime domain to tackle.
He maintained that the Nigerian Navy, unlike that of Ghana has the capacity to take the lead in the campaign to rid the region of criminal activities and restore normalcy.
Further bemoaning the state of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, Yakubu, disclosed that criminal activities have risen to alarming height in the first quarter of 2021, noting that “events of the first quarter of 2021 has shown that the situation is on the threat of getting worse. In the case of Ghana, two vessels were attacked and ten hostages were taken and we are still investigating to find out where they are and how to rescue them.
“So we are proposing that we have a collective naval operation, we can have ECOWAS Naval Taskforce, maybe under the umbrella of what we are already having, the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy which was set up as maritime security architecture that deals with maritime security issues. We should go beyond the information sharing that we are doing now to go into real operation. The real situation in the Gulf of Guinea demands that we have a Naval Taskforce because the criminals our constraints. Our capabilities as you all know are not the same so putting them together to protect our maritime domain is the only way out.
“The international community has gotten so frustrated about the situation in our region, like the European Union in particular that has started what it called coordinated maritime presence, they put these operations together even without resort to neighboring countries, so they bring in their ship to patrol our waters, so how can we leverage on their presence in our waters to help keep our waters safe. Can we have our own coordinated maritime patrols. Can we break down our maritime boundaries, so that when pursuing criminals and they cross over to another country we can continue the pursuit and inform the neighboring country about the situation.”
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