By Lucy Ogalue
The Federal Government has restated the need for collaboration and partnership to ensure maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, made this assertion at the Global Maritime Security Conference in Abuja on Monday.
Amaechi, represented by the Minister of state for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, said striving to maintain safe, secure shipping in our seas and oceans was non-negotiable.
This, he said, was because the prosperity as nation-states today was linked to maritime security considering that over 90 per cent of world international trade was done by sea.
According to him, there is a significant global concern on the rising spate of maritime insecurity and the perception that the Gulf of Guinea Region accounts for most of these cases.
“It is for this reason that Nigeria has decided to take the lead on behalf of the Gulf of Guinea states in convening this conference to examine the strategies and coordinated responses in place to address maritime insecurity.
“The absence of legal frameworks within member states seems to be a significant challenge in the regional effort to stem the tide.
“Nigeria, in this regard thankfully has put in place detailed legislation in the form of a Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act to tackle and repress piracy and other maritime crimes in the Nigerian maritime domain,” Amaechi said.
The Minister expressed optimism that the conference would foster better cooperation in addressing the challenges of maritime security in the region for the benefit of member states and the world at large.
Also speaking, Mr Dakuku Peterside, Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), restated that maritime insecurity remained one of the significant challenges affecting international trade.
He said it also affected the quest for sustainable use of the country’s ocean resources by member states for economic growth, improved livelihoods and job creation.
According to Peterside, Nigeria is keen to drive this initiative because it is a significant destination in the international and domestic shipping map accounting for over 65 per cent of cargo generated from the region.
While reiterating the expectations of the conference, he expressed optimism that it would provide the platform and catalyst for enhanced and robust regional and international collaborations.
He further said the collaboration when in place would deter and repress these challenges in the region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that delegates from over 80 countries were partictipating in the conference.
Over 40 global maritime experts would be making presentations in the course of the three-day Conference with 11 thematic sessions.(NAN)