The Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, made the call at the opening of a 3-Week Counter-Piracy Course on the Core Principles and Practice of Combating Piracy, in Abuja.
The course was conducted by Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Japan.
The minister, who was represented by the Deputy Director, UN Development System Division of the ministry, Mrs Victoria Oluyole, said this would help to consolidate the success being recorded in the fight against maritime crime.
Agba commended the UNDP and the Government of Japan with the Nigerian Navy and other concerned nations for strategizing and planning on the ways and means of combating the menace on the national and regional waters
He said this had also helped in making it safe and correcting the damages already done to the sector as well as restoring normalcy to the seafarers.
While commending the Government of Japan, the UNDP and the Nigerian Navy for facilitating the programme, which he described as remarkable, Agba expressed the hope that it would help address the challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.
“This event is remarkable as we have the assurance that the perennial problems of regional piracy activities in the Gulf of Guinea nations are being confronted headlong in a new tactical dimension through training of professionals who would be able to handle state-of-the-art equipment and development of other capacities.
“We are confident that this capacity building exercise will provide the needed concept, facilitate the state of the art simulation gadgets, tactical, technological know-how to counter emerging threats as well as establish professional relationship among member States,” he said.
The minister, therefore, urged participants to get the best of the training in order to deploy it afterwards towards national objectives to salvage the region and the international communities.
The UNDP Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Mr Matthew Alao, said that the 3-week course would help reinforce synergies and partnership amongst stakeholders.
Alao said the course was part of a Japanese-funded project that intends to complement global, regional and national authorities’ visions and efforts at combating the menace of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea region.
He said this was aimed at building the skills, expertise and knowledge of the participants on the core principles and practice of combating piracy.
“The course consolidates on the achievement of the 2021 maiden edition of the anti-piracy project successfully implemented by MLAILPKC in collaboration with partners from Go Countries including Nigeria.
“The Counter Piracy project, which is being implemented by the Centre, will assist the Gulf of Guinea Countries to further strengthen their institutional effectiveness, inclusiveness, accountability, transparency and responsiveness.
“As well as reinforce synergies and partnerships amongst them to combat maritime crimes; promote international trades, and ensure the economic stability of the member states and of the local communities in the region.
“The project will contribute towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal 16 which aims to promote peace and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective and accountable institutions at all levels. It will help to reduce the prevalence of extremisms, violent crimes and exclusion,” he said.
The Commandant Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre Maj.-Gen. Awaul Fagge, represented by Deputy Commandant, Brig.-Gen. Sunday Makolo, expressed concern over the increased rise in the different acts of piracy that threatens the maritime domain.
According to him, this accounts for a great percentage of global merchandise distribution and exchanges.
Fagge said incessant pirate attacks had resulted in increased maritime insurance costs, increased prices of goods merchandise, oil and gas resource and the growth of regional black markets in clandestine goods and services apart from endangering lives and properties.
He said the costs associated with piracy and other TOCs were passed on and borne by the final consumers in the GoG littoral states.
“It is against this backdrop that the Government of Japan through the UNDP, sponsored the Centre to conduct a research project on Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea: Root Causes, Effects and Priority Intervention Measures’.
“Thereafter, a curriculum for an anti-piracy course was developed, which led to the conduct of the Anti-Piracy Course in the Centre,” he said.
The commandant said that during the period of training, participants would be required to bring their various experiences, competencies and expertise to bear.
Mr Shinozawa Takayuki, Charge d Affairs ad Interim of Japan to Nigeria, said that his country was committed to contributing to the security of West Africa and protect people’s lives through a variety of measures including capacity building for personnel in charge of maritime safety.
“Japan and Nigeria are far apart, but we are connected by the sea. Therefore, as a true friend of Nigeria, it can be said that Nigeria’s matter is Japan’s matter.
“I wish to reassure everyone that the Government of Japan, in cooperation with other countries, continues to contribute to the peace and stability of the Gulf of Guinea, for the livelihood of the Nigerian people and for regional economic stability,” he added.
While describing the GoG as the world’s piracy hotspot in 2021, the envoy commended the Government of Nigeria, the Nigerian military, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and other relevant organizations for their continuous and tremendous efforts in fighting piracy through various initiatives.
He said that countries such as UK and US were also working together with the Nigerian government on security in the Gulf of Guinea.
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NIMASA set to open Lokoja office to harness waterways resources
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has disclosed that the Agency is set to reopen the Lokoja office, as part of efforts towards harnessing the Blue Economy, enhancing collaboration, while also promoting Research and Development.
The DG, who made this known when he played host to the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA), Mal. Usman Hayatu Mazadu at the head office of the Agency in Lagos, noted that investment in research would play a major role in ensuring the harnessing of Nigeria’s maritime potentials.
“The key cardinal principle of opening the NIMASA Lokoja office is to improve on Research and Development.
He said, “Now, the Blue Economy has come to stay and very soon you will see the impact of what we have; in terms of the gains and benefits to grow our Gross Domestic Product while improving the well-being of our own Economy”.
Earlier in his remarks, Mallam Usman of KADSEMA lauded the Agency for the feat achieved so far, which cuts across the entire Nigeria.
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