The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has stated that capacity building initiatives and sectorial reforms are critical elements that can address maritime security issues in the Gulf of Guinea. Dr. Dakuku 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. 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 show 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. Dr. Dakuku 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 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 Cameroon. 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. Dr. 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.
Gulf of Guinea security dominates G7 meeting