By ADEKUNLE SEGUN
Adekunle Segun, ISPS, DPA, MLC, is a maritime industry professional based in Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached on +2348163769265 (SMS only) or firstname.lastname@example.org
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The director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has established unequivocally that other member states of the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) are not helping Nigeria’s image in the international maritime business. The NIMASA boss frowned at the unwarranted smear of the country’s image by other Gulf of Guinea member states when he said that the other countries are not happy that Nigeria is getting all the commendations and efforts in the total fight against piracy in the region. He attributed this to be largely unconnected with the heavy investments by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the security of the region and various steps taken by the government to stem the tide of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Whenever there is a piracy incident in the Gulf of Guinea the other member states are quick to direct accusing fingers at Nigeria. This is very bad. The member states of the GOG include Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe, Republic of Congo, Angola, Liberia, amongst others. Bashir makes the point that this attitude of pointing accusing fingers at Nigeria is not helping the image of the country in the international maritime community. According to him, Nigeria’s integrity is stained and the maritime community hardly respects the country due to the continuous accusation from the Gulf of Guinea member states.
Nigeria has invested over $195 million in acquiring assets and other security measures in combating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, a move that has not been matched or replicated by any other member of the GOG. The anti-piracy assets named The Integrated National Maritime Surveillance and Security Infrastructure was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday June 10 2021 in Lagos. This project is also codenamed the Deep Blue Sea Project. However, the continuous accusation from other member states of the GOG is seriously frustrating Nigeria’s efforts in earning her rightful place in the comity of major maritime players.
It will be recalled that various diplomatic efforts have also gone into tackling piracy by Nigeria, including the visit of the United States Navy and the vessel ‘USS Hershel Woody’ to Nigeria in particular, and the Gulf of Guinea in general. Other countries have also replicated this move, including the security ship donated to Nigeria by South Korea. The NIMASA director general, however, made a very silent point when he said that the country requires over $1.4 million to sail this vessel from South Korea to Nigeria. This vessel will further strengthen Nigeria’s resolve to keep fighting piracy incidents, which requires a sustained approach.
Maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea requires continuous collaboration from every member state and other maritime gladiators in the world. The Gulf of Guinea is a very significant maritime route and this underscores the reason Nigeria and other countries of the world need to continually put on collaborative efforts in fighting piracy in this part of the world. Due to the size of the Gulf of Guinea, maritime insecurity has to be confronted with collaborative efforts from member states and other countries of the world. And Bashir Jamoh gave the encouraging information that the tide of piracy in Nigerian territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea has reduced significantly with the advent of the Deep Blue Sea Project as the country recently recorded the least attack on her waters in the last 28 years.
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