As part of efforts to sustain the gains so far recorded in the regional war against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), Nigeria will be hosting an international maritime security conference in Abuja.
The conference, which will be taking place from May 10 – 11, 2022, was disclosed in a press statement issued Tuesday by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Expectedly, NIMASA as the lead agency under the Ministry of Transportation and the Nigerian Navy, in partnership with the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC) Yaoundé, is to host the conference.
The conference is the 5th plenary of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum for the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE)..
According to the statement signed by the Assistant Director, Public Relations, Mr. Edward Osagie, the theme of the event is “Enduring and Sustainable Security” and would be attended by all the regional navies amongst other international stakeholders.
Speaking ahead of the forum, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, had identified regional co-operation as having played an important role in reducing incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The establishment of GOG-MCF/SHADE has enabled working-level stakeholders from the GoG region and outside the region to connect and discuss how best to tackle piracy in the area. We believe that this has been a catalyst for non-regional stakeholders to step up and initiate effective maritime law enforcement operations to support regional efforts”.
“These collaborative initiatives and efforts of the Nigerian Navy and other regional Navies including the deployment of the Deep Blue Project, has been responsible for the considerable reduction in piracy incidents on Nigerian waters and the GoG region. It is noteworthy that the International Maritime Bureau, IMB, has removed Nigeria from the global piracy list. Achieving this feat is not easy, but sustaining the status will be more challenging. Our goal is to sustain this new status of a piracy free Gulf of Guinea”, Jamoh stated.
Osagie added, “The Gulf of Guinea collaboration Forum SHADE was established by Nigeria and 22 countries of the ICC in July 2021. The goal was to implement effective operational counter -piracy cooperation amongst regional and international Navies as well as the shipping industry and reporting Centres of the Yaounde Code of Conduct (ICC) for the a Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa region.
“The previous edition of the plenary held virtually in July last year, due to travel restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, and was hosted by the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Institute (GOGMI) in Accra, Ghana”.
Dignitaries expected to attend the event include the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral AZ Gambo; among others.
These special guests with the DG of NIMASA, Dr. Jamoh, will be leading participants from Nigeria in plenary while Captain Bell Bell of the ICC-Yaounde is leading the international navies and other participants to the event.