Nigeria has called for urgent action to end terrorism, piracy and trafficking along the African Atlantic coast.
Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama made the call while stating Nigeria’s position at the First Ministerial Conference of African Atlantic States in Rabat, Morocco.The Minister, also a lead presenter of the decisions of African countries on “Political Dialogue, Security and Safety”, said the spread of terrorism, drugs and piracy were threats to be contained.
He urged all African countries bordering the Atlantic to collaborate to stem maritime threats for the better economic development of the region.
“Piracy and the spread of terrorism are urgent and immediate threats to be addressed on African Atlantic shores; these are the challenges facing our region.
“There are, however, different national approaches on maritime security which ECOWAS and the G7 have engaged in.
“These efforts are not just around the Atlantic but also the Gulf of Guinea; Atlantic countries must come together to do more,” he said.
Onyeama said that concerted efforts at capacity building and experience sharing among Atlantic member countries would result in the implementation of customised solutions to the region.
Earlier in his address, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr Nasser Bourita, said the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, called for a relaunch of the African Atlantic collaboration for peace and prosperity.
He said that climate vulnerability and food security had displaced over 1.5million people around the coast of West Africa.
“The collaboration of African Atlantic Countries will ensure sustainable development and prosperity.
“We must come together to restructure the African Atlantic space.
“The declaration to be achieved after this conference must be action-oriented, inclusive and should enable Africa to take ownership; let it be what unites us,” Bourita said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria is one of the 23 African Countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Others are Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Cameroon.
Also, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia and South Africa.
The countries linked by this ocean are home to more than half of the African population.
They account for 55 percent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 57 percent of continental trade.
Danish court returns guilty verdict on Nigerian pirate —- remands him in prison
A Danish court on Monday found a Nigerian guilty of endangering the lives of Danish military personnel in a shooting incident last November involving Denmark’s navy and a crew of suspected Nigerian pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.
However, the court declined to sentence the Nigerian, Lucky Frances, 40, despite a call from the prosecutor for a prison sentence of 12 to 15 months.
As part of international anti-piracy efforts, Denmark deployed a frigate to the Gulf of Guinea in October last year.
“The court emphasized that the 40-year-old Nigeria, together with the other perpetrators, fulfilled all the signs of piracy and had to be described as a pirate group,” Copenhagen city court said in a statement.
Frances, who was injured during a firefight with Danish navy personnel in the November clash, was taken to Denmark for prosecution in January after being treated at a hospital in Ghana.
Frances was exempted from any legal consequences due to his medical condition and the fact that charges against the other three suspected pirates had been dropped, his lawyer Jesper Storm Thygesen told Reuters.
Charges against the three other suspected Nigerian pirates were dropped in January after Denmark failed to find a country in the region to take them.
Frances will remain in custody until both sides have decided whether to appeal against the verdict, Thygesen said.
Possession of NIN by passengers now requirement for boarding trains—Sambo
” The train driver can see from a distance if there are any threats on the tracts that will enable him to match the break long before getting to the threat, and that is why I am telling you confidently,” said the Minister.
The Minister debunked the rumour that train services will resume on Monday, adding that the newly introduced measures will delay the resumption of business along the corridor for a few more days for passengers to get acquainted with the new protocol involved in train boarding before it will resume services.
“We have not said that train services will start tomorrow. I want to be very categorical about that.
“Now, we have introduced a new system before you buy a ticket. The purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile you because that is the beginning of the security checks. So at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another, we know who and who are on board.
“If you don’t have a NIN you are not going to board our train, it is as simple as that. If you are a minor, an adult will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors.
“Now, we want to give sufficient time for the Nigerian public to listen to these two requirements, to assimilate this new system.
“So if you go and start tomorrow, a lot of people will be disgruntled. Why didn’t they tell us that this is a new way of doing it? Why didn’t they give us adequate time to do it? So we want to give you adequate time. Definitely between 3,4,5 days, certainly not more than a week.
Sambo assured Nigerians that a smooth and secured train ride is guaranteed while noting that the trains will not travel at night for now, while there is also going to be a review in train fares.
“I can assure you that we are a compassionate government and will consider the masses in the review of the train fare.”
We are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that.
“We’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis and improve on wherever we find some snags”.
“The ticketing called e-ticketing has already been contracted to a company, called secure ID. That concession has gone through the entire concession process under extant laws, including approval by the Federal Executive Council. So that concession remains in place for the duration of the concession period, which I think is 10 years”.
Sambo said that although only God can guarantee maximum security, he assured Nigerians that everything is in place to guarantee a secured and smooth train ride.
“We are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that.
“We’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis and improve on wherever we find some snacks”.
The Minister assured that Secured ID would continue to handle the e-ticketing services.
“The ticketing called e-ticketing has already been contracted to a company called secure ID. That concession has gone through the entire concession process under extant laws, including approval by the Federal Executive Council. So that concession remains in place for the duration of the concession period, which I think is 10 years”.
The Minister was accompanied by the Minster of State for Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye; Minister of Water Resources Eng. Suleiman Adamu; Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation Fidet Okhiria; Chairman Governing Board Nigeria Railway Corporation Ibrahim Musa.
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