Aftermath of renewed piracy and hostage taking incidents as well as armed attacks on economic/shipping activities in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanian Counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu on Friday commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation .
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“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 trans-boundary 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.
Vice Admirsl Gambo expressed belief that “the 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.
Declaring the itechnical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: Maritime Area of Interest covering Zones E and Integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zones E, Emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and Collaboration with international partners.
On Relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In His address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu noted that he and His delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will but intọ this engagementvto improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea” noting that “Last May, 2 Ghanian vessels were attavking and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS Naval Task Force and Joint Maritime Security Architecture to checkmate these threats adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘Transit Corridors’ where ships from fellow West African Countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Present at the technical sessions were the DG NIMASA (Dr Jamoh) and the DG Ghana Maritime Authority and officials from the Nigerian Ports Authority.