December 4, 2023

Pathfinder News

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Maritime Security: Appraising Nigeria’s Role In Promoting Safer Gulf Of Guinea

Nigeria’s role in supporting maritime security and global trade through NIMASA is resonating beyond her shores; powered by political will, enabling legal framework and necessary assets for enforcement.

Piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea which affects a number of countries in West Africa as well as the wider international community has received several responses from the global maritime community and in the last two years declined.

Nigeria has greatly contributed in rebuilding confidence in the global shipping community, giving reassurances of ships, crew and cargo safety while they transit or trade within the Gulf of Guinea. This is a laudable impact of the Nigeria deep blue project.

Whereas President Bola Tinubu has called for increased synergy between government agencies in pursuing national interest, the deep blue project promoted by NIMASA creates a robust platform for inter agency collaboration towards efficient maritime security.

The Gulf of Guinea in addition to being a major trade route in global commerce touching on shipping, oil, fishing and harnessing of marine resources impacts directly on 13 basin countries.

Proximate countries like Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola are directly linked to the region.

From the enactment of the country’s Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act in 2019 to the procurement of deep blue assets for enhanced security and full scale deployment for enforcement, Nigeria has taken the bull by the horns.

NIMASA in trying to make the Act gain greater traction has entered and sustained partnerships with various security agencies to prosecute the deep blue project.These series of inter agency relationships are rooted in the several memorandum of understanding (MoU) NIMASA is having with the various bodies.

States in the Gulf of Guinea region, with regional economic blocs like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC)are called to step up efforts to establish a stable maritime environment.

This is inclusive of goal to achieve the full operationalization of the maritime security architecture as laid out in the Yaoundé Code of Conduct in 2013.

The Yaoundé Code of Conduct , even in it’s tenth year of existence, has faced challenges, including the lack of sustainable financing to procure maritime security assets, a situation Nigeria has boldly responded to.

Jamoh, had in 2021 appealed for the standardization of the legal frameworks of countries in the Gulf of Guinea to aid effective prosecution of maritime crimes. Jamoh made the appeal in Lagos at the Third Technical Rotating Meeting of the project on “enhancing regional research, convening of stakeholders and capacity development in the Gulf of Guinea” implemented by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, and the Government of Denmark.

A communique calling for the transformation of Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC) into a binding convention for better coordination and optimal benefit to the member countries, was issued at the end of the meeting organised in partnership with NIMASA and the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC).

The Director General said efforts were being made to standardise regional maritime law enforcement, stressing that some countries are already enacting their own antipiracy laws.

Jamoh stated, “We encourage countries within the region, which do not have distinct antipiracy laws, to try to enact such laws. It is in the interest of every country in the Gulf of Guinea to consciously work to remove obstacles to the prosecution of piracy and sea robbery suspects.