President Muhammadu Buhari has approved new maritime security architecture for Nigeria, saying the aim is to stamp out piracy in the Nigeria maritime domain and grow the nation’s economy.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja while declaring open the on-going threeday conference of the Association of African Maritime Administrators (AAMA), Buhari charged the delegates and participants to synergise and collaborate against piracy and sea robberies on African waters.
Buhari said: ”As countries have to continue to develop their maritime sector beginning from national to regional and sub-regional level, here in Nigeria, we have taken steps to tackle some of the issues peculiar to us while still referring to regional and sub-regional collaborations.
”We have set up engagement to resolve and address the misunderstanding and contentious issues in the Niger Delta which, of course, is part of Gulf Guinea.
We recently approved a new maritime security architecture and infrastructure to be jointly coordinated by NIMASA, National Security Adviser and Federal Ministry of Transport.”
The president, who was represented by Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo, admonished maritime administrators across the continent to continually work together in building strong maritime economies for their respective countries.
The president bemoaned what he described as pillaging of African waters which has affected fishing activities with incidences of marine pollution
The president said: ”As things stands, African fishing ranks are being pillaged.
Its waters are being polluted and piracy has heightened maritime security challenges and caused increases in Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF).
”Regulatory and legal framework to properly manage these maritime resources and overcome the challenges are still inadequate.
We are yet to develop human capacity to respond appropriately to these challenges.
The good news, however, is that we are collaborating.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara commended the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Transportation in hosting the event and called for collaboration among African countries to cultivate and reap the benefits of its oceans.
Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said the Federal Government has stepped up efforts to make Nigeria a deserved maritime hub in the West and Central Africa by embarking on comprehensive port reforms and upgrading port infrastructure and linking the ports to the rail network to boost efficiency and quick cargo clearance.
In his opening remark, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the country accounts for over 60 per cent of the total seaborne traffic in volume and value in West and Central Africa region.