Defence/Security

Peacekeeping centre moves to address insecurity in Gulf of Guinea

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Peacekeeping centre moves to address insecurity in Gulf of Guinea

By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Martin Luther Agwai International Center for Leadership and Peacekeeping (MLAILPKC) is engaged in research with a view to proposing a solution to the threat of piracy and maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.

The center, Wednesday in Abuja, began the exercise of validating a research project on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea: root causes, effects and priority intervention measure.

Chief of Training (Army), Major-General. Francis Azinta, represented by the director of training, the major general. Abubakar Ndalolo, said the research was important given the importance of the region to the African economy.

Azinta said the Gulf of Guinea is a major strategic asset for West Africa and Africa as a whole, as well as a vital economic link between the Americas and Asia.

He said the rate of piracy in the Gulf is considered one of the highest in the world, adding that 95% of crimes at sea take place in the region.

Azinta said piracy in the Gulf of Guinea was of concern to Nigeria, adding that the research project carried out by the center was timely.

“The European Union Maritime Safety Agency fact sheet estimates that around 1,500 ships, tankers and freighters navigate the golf course daily.

“This huge volume of sea freight is threatened by piracy.

“This is the reason why the international maritime organization continues to cry out for increasing threats and attacks against individuals and seafarers in the region,” he said.

He said that whether we like it or not, it is helping to negatively affect global trade and the safety of seafarers.

“The International Maritime Bureau, which has tracked piracy in the region, also alluded to this part saying that the region accounts for around 95% of kidnappings at sea.

“So you all agree with me that the Gulf of Guinea has become a hub for piracy due to the high unemployment rates along the West African coasts, poor security. and lack of enforcement of maritime laws.

“It has therefore become opportune to stem the tide of this trend at this time,” he said.

The Commander, MLAIPKC, Major-Gen. James Ataguba, said the project is being carried out in collaboration with the Government of Japan through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Ataguba said pirate activities posed serious threats to maritime trade and business along the Gulf Corridor, adding that they had delayed the economy of the region, especially Nigeria.

This, he said, calls for concerted actions to reduce the influence and activities of these thugs in the region.

He said the project aimed to unravel the root causes of piracy and maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea with a view to reducing the threat.

He commended the Government of Japan and UNDP for working with the center on the project.

“The validation of this project will help the institutional and operational capacities of the center to fulfill its mandate through the delivery of quality training to target beneficiaries.

“In addition, it will help countries in the region to further strengthen their institutional effectiveness, inclusion, accountability, transparency and responsiveness at national and international levels.

“In addition, the entire project will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, to provide access to justice for all and to put in place effective and accountable institutions at all levels.

“The project will undoubtedly potentially contribute to a reduction in extremism, violence, crime and exclusion in the region,” he said.

The representative of the Japanese government and defense attaché, Lieutenant-Colonel. Uchiumi Kazuaki, said his country believed the project would contribute to the future security of the Gulf of Guinea.

Kazuaki said security in the region is important to the global economy, adding that Japan is concerned about security in the region.

He said that his country attached importance to the fight against the threat, hence the need to support the peacekeeping centers in Africa in the field of research and development. (NAA)

(NAN)

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