*Another $370m to illegal fishing
Lagos — Nigeria and about fifteen other countries in the Gulf of Guinea are currently losing a whopping $2 billion to pirate attacks annually just as another $370 million is also lost to illegal fishing and poaching on the nation’s coastal and territorial waters.
Disclosing this weekend, the Chief of Naval, Rear Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas said that the Navy’s efforts are continuously being fine-tuned to counter emerging challenges through maintenance of credible presence within the nation’s maritime domain.
Ibas who was represented by the Flag Officer Western Command Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, at the Annual General Meeting of the Maritime Security Providers Association of Nigeria, MASPAN also said that apart from the traditional crime of robbery and piracy that have bedeviled the maritime domain for decades, there are emerging that security threats such as sabotage of oil and gas infrastructure and marine resource theft as well as other transnational organized crimes that being tackled by the Nigerian Navy.
According to Ibas, security threats keep evolving from traditional to conventional warfare.
He said: “The maritime domain has been under threat by piracy, sea robbery, illicit trafficking, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and marine pollution.
“Now emerging security threats within the Nigerian maritime domain stem largely from non-military causes such as socio-economic agitations and a large army of unemployed and under-employed youths in the coastal communities, whose activities manifest through attacks on shipping .”
“It is estimated that the annual cost of piracy to the Gulf of Guinea region is over $2billion especially in the maritime domain of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.
“However, the frequent abuse by diverse interest across the vast maritime domain has continued to give cause for concerns.
“More disturbing is the fact that many of the illicit acts at sea are directed at the economic lifeline of the nation, with negative impact on development and wellbeing of our citizens.
The Naval chief noted that the maritime space has tremendous economic potentials due to its rich hydrocarbon deposit, fishery, resources, and several port facilities if well harnessed, are capable of improving the livelihood of the nation’s population.
According to the top naval chief, the International Maritime Bureau, IMB, ranks the GoG as one of the most troubled global waterways after the gulf of Aden.