African countries have lost about $300billion to oil theft and illegal fishing in the continent, the Chairperson of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said.She spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of the first summit of Heads of States and Governments of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC),in Yaounde, the Cameroon.
Dlamini-Zuma said the continent has lost $200 billion in five decades to illegal fishing and $100 billion to illegal bunkering since 2003.
“We cannot allow this incursion of resources to continue”. She warned.
President Goodluck Jonathan according to a statement, was among the 25 African leaders that were at the opening ceremony of the summit, which focuses on maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The leaders gathered under the UN Resolution 2039 of February 2012, for the Gulf of Guinea region where 200 million people are living under threat of piracy and transnational maritime crimes.
The summit is to provide a coordinated regional and international response to the scourges of piracy, drug trafficking, armed robbery and other illegal maritime activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
At the meeting, the leaders according to the statement, will review and adopt a series of measures that were previously reviewed at the March 2013 inter-ministerial conference held in Cotonou (Benin).
The Nigerian Navy disclosed that the country records between 10 to 15 attacks monthly on its stretch of the Gulf of Guinea.
According to statistics released at the summit, in the year 2012, 45 per cent of the crimes were committed on Nigeria’s borders, Togo 25 per cent, Ghana three per cent, DRC three per cent, Cameroon five per cent, while Sierra Leone was two per cent. Benin recorded three per cent while Cote d’ Ivoire had two per cent.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) also broke down the attacks recorded to 58 in 2011, 45 in 2012, 34 of which occurred between January and September of the same year as against 30 in 2011 during the same period.
The attacks have resulted to insecurity, threats to economic growth and political stability in neighbouring countries.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon in his message delivered by Abou Moussa, commended the leaders of the ECCAS, the ECOWAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC).
The host, President Paul Biya, called on his colleagues to make sacrifices to reverse the negative trend.