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Business News of Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Source: www.thisdaylive.com

Nigeria mulls maritime strategy to boost blue economy as 33 African Navies meet in Abuja

Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd)

The federal government, yesterday, said the upcoming Nigerian maritime strategy was a policy tool that would further galvanise national maritime resources towards the actualisation of a virile blue economy underpinned by an effective maritime security architecture.

The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), who hinted at this, spoke at the opening of the Sea Power for Africa Symposium hosted virtually at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja.

In the same vein, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, said the increasing potentials of the blue economy had no doubt expanded the duties, roles and responsibilities of navies and maritime law enforcement agencies operating in African waters.

But the minister, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, said the planning and organisation of the symposium was a welcome development especially, with recent efforts towards consolidating and ensuring a downward slope of maritime criminalities within and around Nigeria’s maritime domain.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s support for the process of modernisation of the Nigerian Armed Forces, had included documentation and codification of enabling policy instruments aimed at achieving comprehensive enforcement of maritime laws.

He also cited the promulgation of the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedures on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Vessels and Persons in Nigeria’s Maritime Environment document in 2016 as a template for all maritime stakeholders in Nigeria.

However, Gambo, in his remarks, stated that the increasing potentials of the blue economy had no doubt expanded the duties, roles and responsibilities of navies and maritime law enforcement agencies operating in African waters.

Considering that over 90 per cent exports are covered by sea, Gambo stated that gatherings of this nature were vital to forge collaborative frameworks towards protecting the over 18,950 miles of coastline on the African continent.

He further stated that the exploration of natural resources was forging new frontiers especially, with the huge natural gas reserve potentials on the continent, amounting to more than 800 trillion cubic feet, which would no doubt accelerate blue economy activities.

The CNS further revealed that the Nigerian Navy through the support of the federal government embarked on building institutional capacity for enhanced maritime governance.

This, he said, was typified by the launching of the Falcon Eye intelligence facility, the Deep Blue Project and different asset acquisition and capacity building programmes of the Nigerian Navy.

He stated that the efforts and investments were yielding the required outputs especially, with recent reports of drop in piracy incidents within the Nigerian waters.

The CNS further said the federal government was working assiduously with different stake holders and tiers in government to ensure that the root causes of piracy and other maritime crimes were mitigated through non-kinetic programmes and constructive community engagements.