Nigerian Navy chief discusses “myriad of maritime threats” in Gulf of Guinea

Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbeche Ogbor, the Nigerian Navy’s Chief of Policy and Plans (CCPLANS), discusses the “myriad of maritime threats” in Gulf of Guinea with Andrew Elwell for DefenceIQ

 

Nigerian Navy chief discusses “myriad of maritime threats” in Gulf of Guinea

Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbeche Ogbor is the Nigerian Navy’s Chief of Policy and Plans (CCPLANS) superintends and coordinates Nigerian Navy (NN) programmes, plans and policies including transformational activities. Defence IQ recently spoke with Rear Admiral Ogbor ahead of the OPV Africa conference to understand more about the maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea and how the Nigerian Navy was meeting these challenges.

Thank you for joining us today Rear Admiral Ogbor. What do you consider to be the number one maritime threat for Nigeria? What is the Nigerian Navy doing to address this issue?

African waters, including the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) is beset with of a myriad of maritime threats, for us in Nigeria, oil theft has posed the most significant threat to our national security and economic well being. Last year, it was reported that the national economy lost about $7 billion to oil theft alone. The challenge of oil theft is further exacerbated by the increasing nexus between oil theft, piracy and illegal refining of crude oil with its attendant consequences on the environment. Efforts of the NN to secure the maritime environment are numerous; at the strategic level current efforts of the NN hinge on the mandate given to the current Chief of the Naval Staff on his assumption of duty by Mr President to curb oil theft, pipeline vandalism and other acts of illegalities within our waters. In line with the Presidential directive, the CNS promulgated a Strategic Guidance SG 01. The main pillar of the operational focus of the NN as enunciated in the SG 01 is anchored on a trinity of action which encompasses surveillance, response initiative and enforcement. Furthering the surveillance concept, the NN is in the process of increasing existing Regional Maritime Domain Awareness Capability through integration with Coastal Maritime Radar and Surveillance Systems. Enhanced patrols by naval assets in order to sustain presence remains the main thrust of the current response initiative efforts. This is readily manifest in the extensive deployment of ships and patrol boats under the 3 Operational Commands of the NN. Despite these multilateral efforts, the wide expanse of the maritime environment presents a fundamental challenge to the capabilities of these naval assets. Accordingly, plans are ongoing to recapitalise the assets of the NN through acquisition of ships including Offshore Patrol Vessels. Beyond these, a deliberate policy of collective maritime security is being pursued at the sub regional level. As part of this, Nigeria and Benin Republic are into an operational partnership code named OPERATION PROSPERITY a joint naval patrol aimed at curbing piracy and illegal bunkering within the common waters of Nigeria and Benin. At the sub regional level the NN is also working with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) to further develop enhanced capacity for collective maritime security in the GOG.

What are the other maritime threats you are tackling? What are the key challenges and hurdles you are facing with these?

There are other broad threats impacting negatively on the present and future development of the nation, these include: piracy, weak regulatory institutions and legal frameworks on account of non domestication of international laws and conventions acceded to by governments, Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing, drug and human trafficking as well as proliferation of small arms and light weapons. Arising from the aforementioned threats, the critical challenge confronting the NN is……[access full article]

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