In a strategic and proactive collaborative move to overcome the complex challenges facing the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria and Ghana have formed a partnership to face the challenges heads on, which include kidnapping, arms smuggling, illegal fishing, bunkering and piracy, in order to improve the security system of the region and restore its territorial integrity.
This collaboration was unveiled during the visit of Ghanaian Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral IssahYakubu to Nigeria’s Naval Headquarters, Abuja to meet with his Nigerian counterpart, Vice Admiral AwwalZubairuGambo, during a technical session between the Navies of Nigeria and Ghana.
Rear Admiral Gambo, while declaring open the technical session said that the proliferation of criminality in the region forms serious threat to the coastal region as well as weakens regional growth and global market.
He explained that bilateral engagements between Nigeria and Ghana have become necessary because of the daily tans-national rise in maritime crime which has made the security system of the zone difficult for one country to handle.
He said, “It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region.”
As proposed in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol, the Naval Chief said that the new commitment would engender better cooperation on Cooperative Maritime Security Framework that would promote economic growth and also address maritime insecurity
Bemoaning the rising rate of criminality in the Gulf of Guinea, Rear Admiral IssahYakubu in his remark said that the joint effort of the navies of the countries within the Maritime area has become necessary. He also maintained that the Nigerian Navy has the capability to lead the campaign that will end criminal activities in the region.
Unveiling the proposed operation, he said, “So we are proposing that we have a collective naval operation, we can have ECOWAS Naval Taskforce, maybe under the umbrella of what we are already having, the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy which was set up as maritime security architecture that deals with maritime security issues. We should go beyond the information sharing that we are doing now to go into real operation”.
He added that “The real situation in the Gulf of Guinea demands that we have a Naval Taskforce because the criminals are our constraints. Our capabilities as you all know are not the same so putting them together to protect our maritime domain is the only way out”.