Nigeria’s Defence minister, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali has disclosed to representatives of the G-7 industrialized countries and Gulf of Guinea countries that the Nigerian Navy working in cooperation with sister security organizations have reduced incidences of Pirates attacks on ocean going vessels from 55 in 2016 to 0nly 4 in 2017.
Addressing a gathering of friends of Gulf of Guinea and representatives of G-7 countries at a meeting in Rome, the minister said, “The feat of successfully checkmating the activities of the pirates is a direct reflection of the activation of dedicated anti-piracy Operation ‘TSARE TEKU’ off the coast of Niger Delta.
The full text of his speech reads, “On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, I wish to thank member states of the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea Group for the sustained interest in the promotion of peace, security and development in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Nigeria continues to appreciate your capacity building programmes, particularly in recent years, as they have translated into tangible capabilities that have helped in stemming the tide of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Within the past few years, the Gulf of Guinea states have embarked on several reforms and initiatives towards improving collective efforts on safety, security and promotion of maritime economy in the region.
“In particular, the consummation of the Yaoundé declaration in June 2013 gave birth to the establishment of the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC) between ECOWAS and ECCAS as well as the adoption of the Code of Conduct for against illicit activities.
“So also were the establishment of the ECCAS Zonal structure A to D and the ECOWAS Zonal structure E, F and G for management of maritime security operations.
“At this juncture, I wish to recognize the good intention of some of the G7++ members in developing requisite capacity among Gulf of Guinea navies and in the zonal centers.
“Asset support by some of the G7++ governments as well as the institution of Exercises OBANGAME and NEMO have gone a long way in improving the response skills of maritime law enforcement agencies in the region.
“As we may be aware in recent years, the socio-economic agitations in the Niger Delta have elicited significant maritime security challenges such as attacks on shipping, kidnapping, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and refining has remained challenging.
“Nevertheless, the combination of infrastructure development programmes, engagements with local communities, sustenance of the Amnesty Programme for repentant ex-militants and improved maritime policing activities have proved effective in stemming the tide of insecurity around the coast of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, recent improvements in maritime policing capabilities have resulted in significant reduction in attacks and other maritime criminalities.
“For instance, in the first half of 2016, 55 pirate attacks on shipping were recorded with 36 successful.
“In this closing first half of 2017, however, only 4 successful attacks were recorded out of a total of 16 attempted attacked.
“This is a direct reflection of the activation of dedicated anti-piracy Operation TSARE TEKU off the coast of Niger Delta.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has also initiated plans to establish modular refineries and other programmes to curb crude oil theft and to promote youth employment in the region.
“Nigeria is still concerned about IUUF activities by foreign flagged ships and persistent involvement of other nationals in the crude oil theft and piracy activities in the Niger Delta.
“In the course of Nigerian Navy’s anti-piracy operations, we have also seen a trend of preference for kidnap-for-ransom, with involvement of negotiators from outside the region.
“In consequence, I wish to call for more engaging cooperation and operational collaboration among Gulf of Guinea states and with the G7++ in information sharing on maritime criminal networks, individuals and vessels.
“Nigeria remains committed to the objectives of the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) and recently adopted AU Charter on Maritime Security Safety and Development.
“In this regard, the process for the legislating a Bills on Piracy has also been initiated. Furthermore, the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari recently developed a Harmonized Standard Operating Procedure on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution (HSOP-ADP) Vessels and Persons involved in maritime criminalities.
“The HSOP also made provision for developing and sharing common database on maritime criminality.
“As the INTERPOL recently indicated interest in supporting this initiative, Nigeria looks forward to more engaging discussions and capacity building programmes.”
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in concluding this remark, I wish to acknowledge the efforts of all stakeholders and participants that have resulted in the communiqué of this forum, otherwise known as the Rome Declaration. I look forward to the implementation of the declaration.
“Once again, on behalf of Federal Government of Nigeria, I sincerely thank the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea for hosting this forum. I look forward to receiving you in Nigeria for the next meeting.”
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