VP Osinbajo advocates synergy, collaboration against piracy

David Adekunle, Lagos

Nigerian Vice President Prof.Yemi Osinbajo has called for improved synergy and collaboration among African countries against piracy and sea robberies on African waters

The Vice President who said this while addressing delegates and participants at the ongoing third edition of the Association of African Maritime Administrations AAMA Conference in Abuja, explained that he recently approved a new maritime security architecture for Nigeria,

Professor Yemi Osinbajo admonished maritime administrators across the continent to continually work together in building strong maritime economies.

The Nigerian Vice President bemoaned what he called the pillaging of African waters which has affected fishing activities with incidences of marine pollution

”As things stands, Africa fishing ranks are being pillaged. It’s waters are being polluted and piracy has heightened maritime security challenges and caused increases in Cost Insurance and Freight. 

”Regulatory and legal framework ‎to properly manage these maritime resources and overcome the challenges are still inadequate.We are yet to develop human capacity to respond appropriately to these challenges. A good news is that we are collaborating. 

”As countries have to continue to develop their maritime sector beginning from National to regional and sub regional level, here in Nigeria we have taken steps to tackle some of the issues peculiar to us while still referring to regional and sub regional collaborations.

He stated that the government has set up engagement to ‎resolve and address the misunderstanding and contentious issues in Niger Delta which is part of Gulf Guinea.

“We recently approved a new maritime security architecture and infrastructure to be jointly coordinated by NIMASA, National Security Adviser and Federal Ministry of Transport. 

”We have given required support to the Navy so that they can work with others within our sub region to effectively police our waters for trade. This arrangement will also contribute to resolving and eliminating piracy and sea robbery in our maritime domain. 

”The result are encouraging and piracy have dropped dramatically especially in the last six months . We are making substantive investment to improve human capacity by taking advantage of international trade in the shipping and entire maritime industry.

The Vice President also said significant attention has been paid to make it easy to do business.

He said measures have been put in place to increase port efficiency and enable quick turnaround time of vessels. “One of our immediate priority in this regard is the entry and exit of goods especially in our seaports”.

”Technology is also being introduced to make our ports operation effective to support economic growth. NIMASA as a regulatory agency is being reformed to play effective role as a facilitator of economic prosperity.

”As African Maritime Administrations and Regulators it is my respectful view that a coherent and collaborative ‎continental response to challenges facing our maritime states will require cooperation among our states agencies.  

”It will also entail focusing on human capital development including strengthening the coast Guard to police our waterways. It means that governments appropriate legal and regulatory framework must be put on front burner including timely exchange of information.

”In addition issues of maritime security and Safety must continue receive priority attention as we strive to make Africa a valid player in the international community. In this vein, Nigeria will promote and support effective Africa participation in the Council of IMO however this can only yield desired result if we as African states speak with one voice at the global level in the overall interest of Africa.”

Prof. Osinbajo also unveiled the new logo of NIMASA stressing that the new identity of the agency underscores its renewed efforts at working for improved national economic interest.