Against the backdrop of countering piracy in the sub-region and the gulf of Guinea, Nigeria and Italy are to initiate holding of combined counter piracy exercises and other maritime security activities in international waters and territorial waters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali who stated this during a working visit to his Italian counterpart, Senator Roberta Pinnoti also disclosed that some Italian companies are to be engaged in the area of repairs and remodeling of some Nigerian Army self-propelled artillery equipment for used in counter-terrorism operations.
Addressing a gathering that included Italian Defence Minister in Rome, Mansur Dan Ali used the opportunity to appeal to the Italian government to also consider humanitarian assistance to the displaced persons in the North Eastern part of Nigeria affected by the inhumanity of the Boko Haram terrorists.
Full text of his speech reads, “It gives me a great pleasure on behalf of our Armed Forces and the good people of Nigeria to be invited by the Italian Defence Minister for bilateral talks between our two countries.
“Nigeria and Italy has a long partnership economically and most recently security. My visit today is a confirmation of the long standing partnership that exists between our two great nations.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank your country for the support through European Union to my country in fighting terrorism.
“I want to appeal to you to also consider humanitarian assistance to the displace persons in the North Eastern part of Nigeria affected by the inhumanity of the Boko Haram terrorists.
“Since the coming of the President Buhari’s administration two years ago a lot has been achieved in the fight against insurgency and other violent crimes across the sub region.
“As you are aware also Nigeria and other countries along the gulf of Guinea suffer lot of criminal activities, from drug and human trafficking, piracy, robbery and other criminal maritime activities.
“This practice no doubt is a threat to the existence of humanity and economic development of our nations. I therefore solicit for your cooperation so that together we can stamp out crimes in our maritime environment.
“It should be recalled during the visit of your Prime Minister to my country in February 2016 the need to have enhanced cooperation in the defence sector was given a top priority.
“Both President Muhammadu Buhari and Prime Minister Renzi agreed to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries that will see to the prompt destruction of Boko Haram Insurgents and other illegal crimes in our territorial waters.
“My visit here today is therefore aimed towards consolidating what our two leaders kick started in Abuja early last year.
“I want to assure you very soon Nigerian and Italy will finalize the draft of a technical military and defence agreement that will among other things facilitate, “Exchange of data and experiences on technical matters affecting the preparation and conduct of combined naval operations in the field of counter piracy awareness and oil platforms protection.
“To hold combined counter piracy exercises and other maritime security activities in international waters and territorial waters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“To train Nigerian Navy personnel ashore and on-board of the Italian vessels.
“Be able to arrange working meetings and briefings ashore and on shore between experts to discuss the implementation of this Agreement and results of training and cooperation activities.
“To take measures to improve the readiness of the parties to conduct combined naval operations.
“To engage some Italian companies in the area of repairs and remodeling of some Nigerian Army self-propelled artillery equipment.
“The agreement will also consider cooperation in any other field of naval activities at practical level. I can assure you very soon the two countries will sign Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen out cooperation.
“Finally, Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me use this opportunity to thank the Government and the good people of Italy for the warm reception accorded to me and my delegation since our arrival into this beautiful and historic country that share political, social and religious bonds with Nigeria.”
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