AU agreement will improve maritime security- VP Osinbajo

Timothy Choji, Abuja

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the signing of the charter by African leaders will to improve security off the coasts, and inspire greater, coordinated economic activities and development.

Professor Osinbajo noted that “Without securing the Seas and Oceans, the continental ‘blue economy,’ would be jeopardised. The blue economy is one of the major areas of focus of the charter. All of the economic activities that take place around the Seas and Oceans are jeopardized, if security is not assured.”

He further said the huge economic activities and benefits derivable from around the waters-is currently being jeopardized by maritime crimes like piracy and smuggling.

Professor Osinbajo said the charter was devoted to ensuring security along the Gulf of Guinea, in order to boost the economies of member states of the AU.

Speaking with reporters at the end of the summit, the Vice President noted that the Gulf of Guinea and the Horn of Africa in particular “are areas where there had been a lot of piracy and in our case the Delta.”

He explained that this is why Nigeria and other AU nations are devoted to the question of security of the oceans.

“The most important thing for us is that we are working with other member-states of the AU to ensure we are able to police the seas and our waters. To ensure that we are able to yield the maximum benefits from the blue economy and that is really why we are here, and so focused on this,” he said.

It can be recalled that out of the 54 AU countries, 38 are coastal.

Observers say Africa could have lost as much as hundreds of billions in dollars due to unbridled activities of piracy and smuggling on the African waters in the past few decades.