Eyewitness reporter with agency report
The Nigerian government has ramped up efforts to totally annihilate the malignant piracy in the troubled Gulf of Guinea.
To achieve total emancipation of the region from the rampaging pirates, the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) will be joining forces with the international shipping companies who have enormous interests in the troubled region.The international collaboration have berthed a strategy that seeks to identify areas of continuous improvement in the fight against piracy in the region.
In May, the UN Security Council condemned the GoG as the world’s piracy hotspot. Despite the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre tracking an overall drop in global piracy during 2021, threat levels in the region remain high.
In 2020, 40% of piracy attacks, and 95% of crew kidnappings occurred in the region. However, attacks decreased by nearly 60 percent in 2021, following the establishment of Deep Blue which is the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA) anti-piracy project, and increased international counter-piracy operations in the GoG.
Katharina Stanzel, Managing Director of Intertanko, said: “The agreement on the Gulf of Guinea Strategy marks a significant point in the fight against piracy and insecurity in this region. Seafarers have borne this burden for too long and this agreed strategy, with its associated KPIs, will assist in making their time on ships in the area safer and more secure.”
Kostas Gkonis, Secretary-General Intercargo, elaborated: “With this new strategy, the shipping industry is beginning a new journey alongside Nigeria, an organised approach to tackle security in the waters in the Gulf of Guinea.
Karen Davis, OCIMF Managing Director, said: “The need to identify and prioritise those issues which can help prevent harm to our seafarers is of paramount importance. This joint strategy provides clarity to the activities that, when tackled collaboratively, will make a difference. A positive effect has already been demonstrated.”
A spokesperson of the Nigerian Navy concluded: “The Nigerian Navy plays a vital role in ensuring maritime security. Collaborating with national as well as international stakeholders is most important, and this joint strategy demonstrates the good that can be achieved by working together.”
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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