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Buhari: Nigeria Engaging Navies across Gulf of Guinea for Maritime Safety

President Muhammadu Buhari has eulogised the Nigerian Navy for its commitment in ensuring the safety of the nation’s waterways.

The president stressed that the Nigerian Navy partnering other Navies across the Gulf of Guinea was in the right direction to enhance capacity that would guarantee a collective maritime defence.

Buhari spoke yesterday, through the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi, at the 2022 International Maritime Conference in commemoration of the 66th Anniversary of Nigerian Navy, held at Onne, Rivers State.

Speaking further, Buhari said the conference would fashion out the best way for collaboration among security architecture and curb maritime crime in the collective maritime environments.

He said: “To this end, we owe a strong reason to support the Nigerian Navy and I make bold to commend the Nigerian Navy for their giant strides in maritime security operations, which resulted to several arrests of economic saboteurs, perpetrators of illegal bunkering, smugglers, pipeline vandals, and other miscreants in the fight against illegality in the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain.

“The efforts has brought about decline in piracy and ultimately delisting of Nigeria from the International Maritime Bureau of piracy list in March 2022.

“The Nigerian Navy is the pertinent agency in the marine sector that has the responsibility in the constitution to check threats in the maritime threats.”

He added: “These threats have become transnational and beyond the scope and capability of one nation to deal with. The situation therefore calls for international collaboration and this conference therefore symbolises strategic collaborative initiative between the Nigerian Navy and other international maritime stakeholders, to mitigate the increasing vulnerabilities in African water especially in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, noted that this year’s international maritime conference with the theme: “Optimising collaboration for maritime security and socio-economic development in Africa,” was apt and timely.

Gambo noted the increasing demand for effective collaboration in maritime policing, stressing that the current security threat in the Gulf of Guinea was of serious concern to the larger Africa and global Communities.

“Typically, maritime threats within the Gulf of Guinea have become transnational and are evolving beyond the scope and combat capability of one nation.

“One of the major implications is the increasing demand for effective collaboration in maritime policing, the present situation calls for greater international collaboration as well as intelligence cooperation within states.”

The CNS also regretted that in the past decade, a huge capacity gap had emerged amongst the Gulf of Guinea of Navies at Portugal in efficient discharge of its mandates.

According to Gambo “The conference will provide a veritable platform to collectively proffer way forward in addressing the major challenges in the maritime environment.

“It is hoped, that this forum will facilitate the much needed discuss towards identifying variable concept and constructive action plans that will support this initiative.”

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