Maritime Crimes Killing Our Economy, Ganduje Laments

…Chief of Naval Staff Calls For Collaborative Maritime Policing

From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano

Kano state Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, on Thursday, lamented that the increasing spate of maritime crimes are having adverse effects on the nation’s economy, calling on all stakeholders to rise up to the situation.
Ganduje spoke as a Special Guest of Honour cum Chief Host, during the opening ceremony of the Chief of Naval Staff Annual Conference held at Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano.

Delivering his keynote address, Ganduje listed piracy, sea robbery, kidnapping, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and unregulated fishing within Nigeria’s Maritime environment, as part of crimes grossly affecting economic growth in the country.

He insisted that efforts must be put in place by government and stakeholders to curb maritime crimes in the country so as to boost and stabilize the economy and ensure food security.

According to him, “the Nigeria’s Maritime environment is known to hold a good percentage of Africa’s oil production and significant per cent of the continent’s proven reserves.

“It is a major source of food stock and supply as it boasts of some of the continent’s richest and abundant fisheries, a vital source of protein need, consumed locally and internationally.

“The region is also a hub of extensive trans-Atlantic trade linking Africa and Europe, the Americas as well as the Middle East and the rest of Asia.

“From the forgoing, it is apparent that Nigeria’s Maritime environment is endowed with numerous living and non-living resources which if carefully explored and managed, can contribute tremendously to the prosperity, peace and stability of not just the country, but of other nations that depend on such resources within the region and beyond.”

He, however, regretted that incessant maritime crimes have not given Nigeria the opportunity to tap from these potentials.

According to him, “the common impact of maritime insecurities on the economic livelihood, prosperity, peace and stability of Nigeria both within and immediate environment brings to fore the need initiation of various collective responses and interventions at national and stakeholders levels to tackle the menace.”

Ganduje, however, appreciated the Nigerian Navy for creating a platform for intellectual discourse through the Conference with the theme: ‘Enhancing Nigeria’s Maritime Security for Improved National Prosperity,’ describing it as timely and apt.

He also promised that his administration will take the lead in supporting the implementation of the resolutions of the Conference, “as well as all initiatives towards ensuring maritime security and good order in the country.”

In his welcome address, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral AZ Gambo, called for effective collaboration in maritime policing.

He pointed out that, “the current security threats in the (maritime)  environment are of serious concern to all of us gathered here today as well as the larger Nigerians.

“What is perhaps more disturbing is that much of the criminal activities in our maritime environment are directed at the economic life line of Nigeria.

“In other words, the scourge of illegalities, such as sea robbery, piracy, crude oil theft, poaching, human and illicit trafficking of weapons and drugs among others constitute serious challenges to the development of the country and the region at large.”

According to him, “looking at most recent happenings, especially, the one that posed by the global pandemic leading to economic challenges, it is clear that one of the major implications of the emerging security situation is the increasing demand for effective collaboration in maritime policing.

“The present situation calls for constant reappraisals, greater collaboration, as well as inter-agency cooperation within stakeholders.

“In recent times, some Federal and local initiatives we’re initiated towards ensuring greater productivity of security efforts. These initiatives testify to the political level commitment to security and developmental imperatives in our maritime domain.”

He further stated that, “in the recent past, a huge capability gap has emerged amongst the stakeholders in the efficient discharge of their constitutional mandates.”

The CNS, however, hoped that the Conference would provide a veritable platform to proffer workable solutions in fine-tuning Nigerian Navy efforts at securing the nation’s Maritime environment.

He added that, “it is hoped that this forum will facilitate the needed discourse towards identifying viable concepts and constructive collaborative action plans that will support this strategic level initiative.”

According to him, “the objective of the Conference, therefore, is to elicit proper understanding and develop strategies that will enhance our collective effort to meet present and emerging maritime challenges in our strategic environment.”

The conference was attended by Governor Ganduje, his Deputy and members of his cabinet; representatives of the Governors of Jigawa, Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Sokoto states; Senators; House of Representatives members; Speaker of Kano state House of Assembly; the Chief of Defence Staff; Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff; and representative of the Inspector General of Police; Representative of the Emir of Kano, Emirs of  Bichi, Karaye, Gaya and Rano; Captains of Industries; diplomats; technocrats; and stakeholders in the maritime sector.

Intellectual materials and papers relating to maritime security and development were presented and discoursed. There was also presentation of a book co-authored by the CNS.

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