By EVELYN USMAN
LAGOS—THE Federal Government has raised alarm that the economic opportunities in African maritime industry are being threatened by the rising insecurity in the continent’s waters, calling on littoral states to defend their maritime sector against criminals for exploitation of the resources.
The government spoke in Lagos, through the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, at the ongoing international maritime Offshore Patrol Vessel, OPV, Conference organised by the Nigerian Navy in partnership with the International Quality and Productivity Centre, IQPC.
The three-day programme, ending today, is being attended by Chiefs of Naval Staff from different African countries and maritime stakeholders across the globe.
According to the minister, the OPV conference with the theme: Delivering Maritime Security to Africa, signified the feasibility of a potent strategy and civil-military synergy required to confront the increasing vulnerability in African waters.
She said: “Regrettably, as we are all aware, the economic prospects are threatened by the common challenge of rising insecurity in our collective maritime domain. It, therefore, makes sense to posit that any initiative by the Nigerian Navy to build credible capacity that will guarantee our maritime defense, must be encouraged. It is based on this premise that President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the hosting of this conference. I am happy to note that this conference will also broaden the discourse on protection of crucial offshore oil and gas infrastructure in Africa.
In his address, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, said: “Whereas the desired end state is essentially defined by the ability to emplace robust and effective domain awareness capabilities and patrol missions for enhanced maritime security, thus providing the enabling environment for socio-economic growth and development of African states, regrettably, the increasing necessity of policing operations, particularly within the past decade has revealed the huge capability gap of African navies and coast guards in their ability to efficiently discharge their constitutional mandate.”