By Godwin Oritse
THE inability of member countries to contribute their subscription dues to the Gulf of Guinea Commission, GOGC, has stalled activities and strategies to tackle the menace of sea piracy in the region.
The Commission, it was gathered, had resorted to begging members for funds to organize trainings and other events for its staff.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report at the monthly meeting of the Lagos Maritime Security Zone, LMSZ, of the Port Facility Security Officers Forum, PFSO, Dr. Franka Attoh, of the Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, said that Nigeria and Angola were the only countries currently funding the Commission.
Attoh said that countries within the region had always complained that they do not have money. She explained that until member states inject resources into the Commission, it will remain inactive and the objective of its establishment would have been defeated if the trend continues.
She stated: “The problem is resources; until member states of that Commission decide to inject resources in funding the Gulf of Guinea Commission, it cannot be really active in the sense that the Commission is supposed to protect the Gulf of Guinea corridor and the Gulf of Guinea corridor is so important to members’s ocean going vessels carrying crude oil and other cargoes. Both manufactured and raw materials pass through it and unfortunately, member states of ECOWAS have not reasoned that it is a corridor they must keep active.
“Apart from Nigeria that pays its subscription regularly and maybe Angola, some other member states do not pay their subscription regularly and that is why the Secretariat is inactive.
“Each time they want to have a major event, they will need to go round looking for organisations that will sponsor them to gather resources and that is usually not too good for an organisation that is so strategic for the economic survival of the West African sub-region.
”The Gulf of Guinea Commission should be a member of the International Maritime Organization, IMO, and partner with them and take advantage of the rights and privileges that are inherent in that particular body because I doubt if they are a member.”