United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has said the activities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) have persistently been on the downward trends in the past three years.
In recent months, Nigerian waters and to a large extent, the Gulf of Guinea, have witnessed no piracy attacks on ships due to Nigeria leading by example through the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure.
The UNDP team lead, Governance, Peace and Security, Mr Matthew Alao, said this at the opening of a Week Residency Maritime Rules of Engagement Course on Interception and Counter Piracy Operations in GoG in Abuja yesterday.
The course was organised by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) with support from the Government of Japan.
Alao said the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) 2022 annual report indicated that 115 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships and seafarers were recorded globally in 2022 compared to 132 recorded in 2021.
He said the report stated that the GoG continued to experience desirable reduction in maritime crimes in 2022 as the region accounted for 19 incidents as against 35 incidents recorded in 2021.
The feat, according to him, was achieved through unrelenting efforts, partnerships, and investments against piracy by the member states particularly Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Navy is living up to expectations, up its game against pirates, and are recording resounding success in its fights against the menace of pirates.
“Thanks to the Nigerian Navy and other maritime actors for achieving this feat and we urge you to continue on the positive trend.
“As the ICC-IMB report advised, sustained efforts are required to ensure the continued safety of seafarers and ships in GoG region which remains dangerous,” he said.
The chief of training, Army Headquarters, Maj Gen. Sani Mohammed said the Gulf of Guinea had witnessed several trans-shipping and fishing activities with huge developmental impacts on the economies of member countries.
Mohammed, who was represented by the deputy chief of training, courses, and examination, Maj.-Gen. Olusegun Abai, said the developments were however challenged by series of Maritime and Transnational Organised Crimes (MTOCS).
He said that piracy, human trafficking/smuggling, terrorism at sea, money laundering, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) and illegal bunkering amongst others had bedeviled the region.
According to him, creating a safe maritime environment for trading along the gulf has become the focal point for the various GoG governments.
The minister of state, budget and national planning, Mr Clem Agba, commended Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) for building the capacity to defeat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
The commandant of MLAILPKC, Maj.-Gen. Parker Undiandeye, said the maritime domain and the GoG had remained critical sectors in global trade and commerce, being one of the earliest routes for human interconnectivity and a precursor to current economic globalisation.
Undiandeye said the trade along the sea routes and lanes like the China Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Aden, and Gulf of Guinea amongst others had brought about global economic prosperity with the increased relationship between nations.
He said the increasing rise in piracy had threatened the maritime domain, which accounts for a great percentage of global merchandise distribution and exchanges.