By Godwin Oritse
FOLLOWING the increased activities of the pirates in the nation’s coastal and territorial waters, Nigeria lost a total of N21.6 trillion to the sea robberies in three years.
Disclosing this at a maritime security and safety symposium in Lagos , Professor Charles Ukeje of the International Relation Department of the Obafemi Awolowo University, said that the figure will continue to rise if urgent steps were not taken to check mate these criminals
Ukeje, in his paper titled ‘Economic Implications of Piracy and other Crimes to the Maritime Industry and the Nigerian Economy’ noted that except for 2007 and 2013, the number of pirate attacks on African waters exceeded the global figures in all cases, by more than double. Drawing insights from the Contemporary Maritime Piracy Database (CMPD) between 2001-10, the University don further disclosed that a recent study on ‘The Changing Nature of Contemporary Maritime Piracy’ published in the British Journal of Criminology (2014) identified the location of piracy, time of attack, target vessel characteristics, motivation for piracy, and capacity to strike over long distances, as some of the emerging trends in pirate attack.
He explained that the crime has become so lucrative such that what a pirate makes from one single attack could last him for 20 to 25 years if he lives minimally.
Ukeje explained that piracy as product of insecurity and structural deficits cannot be resolved over night, adding that the governments at regional level must make concerted effort to either reduce the menace or eliminate it.
He said “Although piracy has emerged as a market on its own right, those who reap the greater revenue are mostly unknown as they operate from under ground.
“To address the first aspect, it is important to identify some of the key constituencies in the maritime industry and their characteristics”
He opined that since pirate attacks are sea base but planned on the land, there is a need to empower the inhabitants of the littoral states cannot be over emphasized.
He said that while the ports recorded 270 attacks in ten years, territorial water attacks stood at 173 as against 108 recorded against international water.