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Gulf of Guinea: Buhari, IMO seek joint security architecture for safe shipping

President Muhammadu Buhari has advocated strategic joint security architecture amongst all maritime nations to fight piracy along the Gulf of Guinea in African waters.

In his keynote address at the opening of the Global Maritime Security Conference (GMSC), presented by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Buhari averred that the Federal Government remains determined to rid the country’s waters of all forms of criminalities.

While stressing that with the cooperation of the international community, the entire maritime domain of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) would be free from piracy, President Buhari said the efforts of the government to fight maritime insecurity were already yielding fruit, quoting statistics by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy reporting centre.

The President said as Africa proceeded with the second phase of negotiations for the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), safety and security of sea transportation were critical to seamless trade and effective economic integration. “Our approach, therefore, towards the realisation of maritime security in the region and other vital sea lanes is contingent on our collective effort and ability to put in place international, continental, regional and national frameworks and resources in cooperation with critical stakeholders,” Buhari said.

Noting that there had been a reduction in the rate of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), Buhari stated, “The convening of this timely conference here in Nigeria is an indication that we will not relent in efforts to rid our waters of the piracy scourge. To succeed in our objective, a collective effort from all stakeholders represented here today is essential.”

Corroborating Buhari’s stand in his goodwill message delivered by Assistant Secretary General,  Lawrence Barchue, the Secretary General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, made it clear that IMO will continue to support member-states’ efforts to enhance maritime security.

He said “Working together is something that IMO is fully onboard with; together we can team up to deploy resources from all stakeholders in order to comprehensively address maritime insecurity within the region.”

In his remarks, the Minister of Transportation Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi said collaboration was the most valuable solution to the issues of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea. The minister, who was represented by the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, stated, “The most valuable element at the heart of the solution we seek is ‘collaboration and partnership’. I have no doubt in my mind that this conference will push the realisation of the security solution we seek for the Gulf of Guinea and the global shipping community.”

The international conference which started on Monday, is expected to come up with a declaration at the end of proceedings on Wednesday.