- Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh (left), Chief of Policy and Plans, Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Saidu Garba (who represented the Chief of Naval Staff), and Secretary-General, Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, during the 5th Plenary Session of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/Shared Awareness and De-confliction in Abuja…Tuesday
By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Navy and the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) have expressed the need for continuous collaboration with regional and international stakeholders to sustain security in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
This was the thrust of presentations at the 5th plenary of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) meeting which opened Tuesday in Abuja with the theme, “Enduring and Sustainable Security.”
Addressing participants, NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, noted that collaboration and co-operation were central in attaining enhanced security in the GoG in recent times, and that NIMASA would provide all logistics required for members of the SHADE/FORUM to thrive and maintain the momentum.
“Two years ago, we connected virtually with our unhappy stakeholders, with challenges of piracy attaining its peak in the Gulf of Guinea between 2019 and 2020. But today, even the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has affirmed that piracy is at a 28-year low in the region,” he said.
Going forward, “the SHADE must be nurtured to remain a force for good. As members, we owe a collective duty to this forum to keep its dialogue robust and guard it from slipping into complacency as to become a toothless bulldog.
“SHADE must be strengthened through cooperation, coordination, collaboration and communication. Security success can never be by solitary achievements.”
Therefore, “there must be cooperation between regional navies, like we saw recently between Nigeria and Benin. We are all contributors to the success we are currently experiencing in the area of maritime security.”
On his part, the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim, congratulated Nigeria on the efforts to improve security in its territorial waters and the GoG domain at large.
Addressing the event virtually, he told members of the SHADE FORUM that “maintaining the momentum of gains made so far is the main challenge for the regional navies. To do so, you must address the root causes of piracy, including the plight of coastal communities, in order to reach sustainable solutions to the issue of piracy.”
Also, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, attributed the successes recorded in the GoG to the collaboration, information and data sharing among countries in the region.
Gambo, who was represented by the Chief of Planning, Nigerian Navy Headquarters, Real Admiral Saidu Garba, stressed the need to sustain the momentum through institutional capacity building for maritime governance.
According to him, “there is still room for greater collaboration in the areas of information sharing, increased presence of naval assets and strengthened legal frameworks among the GoG nations as well as international partners, which are all key to ensuring success of the Yaounde Architecture.
“The safety and security of shipping in the GoG is a vital enabler in the recovery process of global economy and trade downturn suffered due to Covid-19 pandemic.”
Other stakeholders at the event included the Director, Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC-Yaounde), Admiral Narciso Fastudo, Co-chair, SHADE-GoG/Maritime Collaboration Forum, Rear Admiral Solomon Agada, and Special Advisor to the chairs of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum, Simon Church.
The forum is aimed at implementing effective operational counter-piracy cooperation among regional and international navies, as well as the shipping industry and reporting centres of the Yaounde Code of Conduct (ICC) for the Regional Strategy for Maritime Safety and Security in Central and West Africa region.
This edition is being hosted by NIMASA, in partnership with ICC-Yaounde and the Nigerian Navy.