As part of its effort to counteract and curtail the proliferation of piracy operations in the Gulf of Guinea, President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that Nigeria will continue to deploy resources to address the menace. The president stated that the government initiated a whopping sum of $195 million, to combat piracy in the region through the Deep Blue Project, in June 2021. He went on to stress that the Gulf of Guinea Commission’s regular meetings were vital for achieving stability and peace in the region.
Buhari made the remarks in Accra, Ghana, at the third Extraordinary Session of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) Assembly of Heads of State and Government. During his final speech as president of Nigeria at the assembly in Accra, Ghana, Buhari described the session’s theme, “Building a Safe, Secure, and Prosperous Gulf of Guinea Region for Sustainable Development,” was appropriate and significant in light of the challenges that is currently facing the Gulf of Guinea.
The Assembly adopted policy decisions to revitalize the commission.
Nigeria maintains its dedication to revitalizing the Gulf of Guinea Commission by hosting the 5th Ordinary Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the GGC on October 13, 2022 in Abuja. At this summit, the Assembly adopted policy decisions to revitalize the commission. According to president Buhari, Nigeria places a high priority on the GGC’s smooth operation because of its importance to international security in the Gulf. Such commitments include working to curb piracy, stop the distribution of light weapons, safeguard maritime resources, and curb the influx of undocumented people into the region.
In addition, the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019, (SPOMO Act) was approved by Nigeria’s National Assembly in June 2019, with the goal of preventing and suppressing piracy, armed robbery, and any other unlawful activities against any ship legitimately operating in the Gulf region. Buhari thanked Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who chairs the Assembly, for the invitation, and he expressed his gratitude to outgoing Nigerian GGC Executive Secretary Florence Ukonga and her management team for their hard work and compassion during their tenure.
Others urged to follow Nigeria’s lead in combating maritime insecurity.
He further stressed the importance of the States maintaining their regular commitment to the GGC summits and the extraordinary sessions. These enduring underpinning frameworks provide the States with the opportunity to interact, identify, support policies, and develop capacities in pursuit of peace, security, and prosperity in the Gulf of Guinea region. The President of Nigeria urged other members to follow Nigeria’s lead in combating maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea by passing anti-piracy legislation.
He detailed the country’s efforts thus far to demonstrate its commitment to the GGC’s revitalization and strengthening in order to achieve its goals. In particular, Buhari praised Ukonga for handling the organization’s financial woes with grace and dignity and encouraged member countries to fulfill their financial obligations. The president praised the team for bringing the GGC to a level where it could collaborate with the African Union on sub-regional initiatives concerning maritime security, safety, and sustainable developmental challenges that would have a significant influence on Central and West Africa.
Member nations urged to contribute their financial duty timely.
Moreover, Buhari mentioned that the commission is excited for the joint Africa Naval Exercise of the commission scheduled to take place in Lagos on May 15th, 2023. After multiple virtual meetings since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Akufo-Addo expressed his joy at the physical summit earlier in his opening remarks. He reaffirmed to the delegates the obstacles the commission had to overcome and urged the member nations to contribute their financial duty in a timely manner to enable the panel to carry out its legal mandate.