The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo said Nigeria has been removed from the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy list, which serves as a confirmation on the gains of sustained anti-piracy war.
Gambo made the disclosure at the maiden Nigeria- European Union Collaboration ceremony on maritime security held at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Apapa, Lagos.
The CNS, who was represented by the Naval Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral Suleiman Garba, noted the navy’s consistent operations as well as efforts by other maritime stakeholders, partners led to the achievement of the feat.
“The commitment of the Nigerian Navy towards maritime security has yielded dividends and a lot has been achieved by the Nigerian Navy in safeguarding the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
“Nigeria has continued to record successes in the anti-piracy war as activities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea have reached an all-time low in more than a decade.
“The Nigerian Navy has continuously acquired new assets and has further improved its capabilities to maintain a large fleet and to operate far beyond its territorial waters,” he said.
Talking about the navy’s collaborations, he said: “A notable result from the collaboration is the arrest of 10 pirates whose jail terms were secured for hijacking a Chinese fishing vessel, FV HAI LU FENG II off Cote D’Ivoire in May 2020…
“I applaud the Federal Government’s commitment and decisive initiative on the Deep Blue Project to tackle the menace of maritime insecurity in the waterways.
“I also commend the European Union (EU) for the fundamental support and partnership in operationalising the Yaoundé Code of Conduct through diverse programmes and initiatives towards capacity development in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We have engaged with you in notable programmes such as the support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) which only this week donated 30 Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats to 12 West African coastal states.”
The CNS reinstated his appreciation to the EU’s for its Coordinated Maritime Presence which complimented other maritime security programmes and projects in the Gulf of Guinea.
He called for enhanced collaboration with EU and coastal states within the framework of the Yaoundé Architecture on information sharing in order to bridge the existing communication gaps.
“I also welcome Italian Navy Ship RIZZO and the Spanish Navy Ship SERVIOLA as well as the Italian and Spanish governments for their participatory approach in conducting maritime exercises in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The two naval ships are currently on port call to Lagos to run ashore as well as for replenishment of required logistics for further operations and voyage,” he said.
In his remarks, the EU Senior Coordinator for Gulf of Guniea, Nicolas Berlanga, said collaborating with the Nigerian Navy would help protect freedom of investment and improve economic development.
“It is good that we coordinate internally better and engage strategically with the Nigerian Navy. We will work together and offer our partnership to the Nigerian Navy for continued strengthening of security at the Gulf of Guniea.
“This is important and will be of benefit because freedom of navigation and investment of economic activities is also our freedom,” Berlanga said.
This is a clear indication of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration’s commitment to birth a better Nigeria.