Nigeria, through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Navy, is taking the lead in maritime safety concerns in the entire West and Central African sub-region because safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea have direct impact on the nation’s economy.
This was disclosed by the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who also described security in the nation’s maritime domain as work-in-progress and requires the commitment of all stakeholders to ensure safety of all investments in the sector.
Peterside told newsmen in Lagos over the weekend that a lot of factors contribute to the rising cost of importation through the seas, therefore the need to tackle insecurity in the waterways, adding: “We must ensure the security of the Gulf of Guinea because Nigeria is not isolated from whatever happens in the region.”
According to him, such happenings “may lead to negative economic impact, increase in the cost of insurance or war premium insurance, and ultimately lead to high cost of goods and services, which will be borne by the consumer of the goods and services.”
Noting that 65 per cent of cargoes heading to the region ends up in Nigeria, Peterside, who also heads the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA), said that securing the nation’s territorial waters requires the commitment of all stakeholders, including neighbouring countries.
He said that the NIMASA management has recognised this was implementing international regulatory instruments in collaboration with various countries in the region to checkmate criminal activities, as “no maritime crime occurs within a jurisdiction alone.
“Very often, the trend is that maritime crime starts from one jurisdiction and ends in another. The only way we can tackle maritime crime is all of us working together and there have been several regional initiatives in that respect to tackle maritime crime.
“Apart from the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, you have the Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy and the Gulf of Guinea Commission dealing with the same thing. There are several sub-regional and regional initiatives to tackle maritime insecurity, so I see a lot of potentials in regional collaboration and integration.”