By Oko Ebuka
Stakeholders in the Nigerian maritime industry have said that the efforts of the Nigerian Navy (NN) in the fight against piracy, sea robbery and other illegal activities in the Nigerian waters in recent times would help to boost international trade.
Specifically pointing at the support to merchant shipping the stakeholders, who made this remark during the Freight Forwarders day event recently held in Lagos, noted that in the past 12 months, the professional actions of the Navy have thwarted not less than 15 determined attacks.
According to them, contrary to reports in the international shipping community, the NN has consistently continued to deliver on its mandate to secure the maritime environment of Nigeria by providing additional security options as requested through their framework for the private sector.
Recently, Nigeria has been in the spotlight over the number of attacks occurring within her waters or otherwise originating from Nigeria. Specifically, the number of seafarers being kidnapped, sea piracy activities and others by militants has alarmed the international shipping community.
The stakeholders argued that this situation has a negative effect on the Nigerian economy in which the maritime trade contributes significantly through ship movements in and out of Nigeria’s territorial waters.
One of the stakeholders, Chief Adelusi Owolabi noted that “the information in international media and guidance released to the shipping industry would suggest that there are few options available to secure shipping in Nigeria, but the simple fact is that for many years, ships have made use of Nigerian security agencies and particularly the Navy as escorts and embarked guards to fend off any attack.