For two days, stakeholders in the maritime sector gathered at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) Jaji, near Kaduna to proffer solution to the security challenges in the maritime sector, John Shiklam writes.
Despite the abundant maritime resources in the Gulf of Guinea, countries within the area have remained among the poorest in the world due to the pervasive activities of criminals which appears to continue unabated.
Thus, addressing the security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea has been a daunting task for the states within the Gulf because of several factors thereby depriving these countries, namely Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Ghana, Togo, Cote D’ivoire, and Benin Republic the economic benefits that come from the region.
It was because of the numerous security challenges hampering beneficial economic activities in the area and the need to proffer solution to it, that experts and stakeholders in the maritime sector within and outside the country gathered at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji near Kaduna to brainstorm on how best the security challenges could be best addressed.
The event was organised by the Department of Maritime Warfare of the AFCSC with the theme: “Improving National and Regional Cooperation for effective Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea: A panacea for development”.
Many of those who spoke at occasion were unanimous on the fact that, for nations within the Gulf of Guinea, there was need for cooperation as well as deploying the required resources to tackle security challenges.
The Commandant of the AFCSC, AVM Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu in his welcome address did not mince words about the nature and complexity of contemporary maritime crimes such as piracy, terrorism and smuggling, which he noted have huge economic and security implications on most countries of the world.
Represented by the Deputy Commandant of the College, Rear Admiral Duke Osuofa, AVM Mu’azu, pointed out that it is impracticable for only one country to secure and protect the maritime environment due to the vastness of the sea, saying that focus must be shifted from a unilateral approach to a collaborative effort in securing maritime environment against common threat.
He charged countries in the Gulf of Guinea to pursue regional initiatives to achieve collective maritime security as well as solve maritime security problems.
In the same vein, the acting Minister of Defence, Dr. Mrs. Olusola Obada and her Liberian counterpart, Hon. Brownie Samukai (Jr) who spoke at the occasion called for pragmatic and closer collaboration among countries within the Gulf of Guinea to address the challenges in the region.
The minister who was represented by the Director of Navy in the Ministry of Defence, Mr Abiodun Salami, said the Gulf of Guinea was facing socio economic and environmental challenges that need to be tackled effectively. She maintained that the vast resources and potentials in the region were being undermined by multifaceted domestic, regional and international threats and vulnerabilities.
“Rather than contributing to stability and economic prosperity for the countries in the sub-region, pervasive insecurity in this resource laden maritime environment has resulted in more than $2 billion in annual financial losses, significantly constraining investment and economic prospect as well as growing crime and adverse political consequences.
Article courtesy of This Day Live.