ABUJA: (AFP) – Benin President Boni Yayi Thursday met with President Goodluck Jonathan and said pirates were threatening the security of his country’s ports and called for an Abuja-led action to fight it.
“Boni Yayi had informed …Jonathan that pirates and bandits were threatening the security of ports in that country and the Gulf of Guinea coastline,” said a statement from Jonathan’s office in Abuja.
Yayi, had during the meeting “called for concerted action, led by Nigeria, to check this menace,” the statement said.
The Benin leader’s call came less than three weeks after pirates seized an Italian tanker carrying fuel and a crew of 23 off Benin in the Gulf of Guinea.
It was released on July 28.
The news agency ANSA then said three pirates managed to board the Rbd Anema e Core and seized its crew comprising 20 Filipino seamen, two Italians and a Romanian captain.
In his reply, Jonathan said Nigeria would cooperate with neighbouring countries to fight the challenge posed by cross-border banditry, terrorism and piracy.
“Criminals don’t respect political boundaries in their nefarious activities, so we will cooperate with one another to find lasting solutions to the problems they pose”,” the statement quoted him as saying.
He said that relevant Nigerian officials will be in contact with their Benin counterparts to find appropriate ways to deal with the situation.
At the end of July, pirates boarded a Swedish tanker off the Benin coast but were chased away by the African nation’s navy, leaving the vessel and crew unharmed, the ship’s owner had said.
Last month, a Greek oil tanker hijacked by gunmen off the coast of Nigeria was released along with its 20-strong crew. The Liberian-flagged oil tanker Aegean Star owned by Endeavour Marine Agency was returning to the Ghanaian port of Tema.