March 4, 2020

SEA PIRACY: Utomi, ANLCA canvass alternatives to use of force


Professor Pat Utomi

By Godwin Oritse


AT the backdrop of rampant sea piracy in the Nigerian waters, Prof. Pat Utomi has said that until the Nigerian youths are gainfully engaged, Nigeria will continue to face the menace of pirate attacks on vessels that call at the Nigerian ports, a development that may plunge the economy into inflation.

Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report, weekend, in Lagos, Utomi said that dealing with the challenges of insecurity on-shore-offshore, it will not be about guns adding that the government needs to get to the root of the of these challenges. He was of the opinion that a more productive economy will see less of these challenges if the youths are engaged in productive ventures.

He stated: “If we are going to deal with this challenge of insecurity on waters we have to get to the roots; it is not about guns; guns are not enough. If we have a productive economy that engages the youths of this country, the issue of crime will naturally go down; when you then ensure that you have a growing economy that provides opportunities for young people then you begin to get demographic dividends rather than have youths that could compromise our safety.

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“There were no opportunities for the youths of Somalia; our challenge is to make sure we do not become another Somalia. We must also educate our young people with a view to getting them away from criminal activities because as Nigeria gets blacklisted, the cost of shipping to Nigeria will continue to increase and whatever we buy will be more expensive and our competitiveness and the local economy will be affected. I think all hands must be on deck and begin to deal with these matters.”

Speaking in similar vein, the President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Mr. Tony Nwabunike, said that the case of Nigeria is not as bad as that of Somalia that these international shipping groups may report Nigeria to the United Nations.
Nwabunike also said that the issue of conspiracy against Nigeria by the same international community cannot be wished away.