By PHILIP NWOSU
Nigerian Navy has warned pirates and other criminal elements operating within the coast of West Africa to desist or come under the hammer of a combined force of the sub-regional navies.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, who handed down the warning, said criminals, who failed to heed the advice should be prepared to contend with the firepower of the security forces.
The CNS made the assertion at a cultural night ceremony at the Headquarters of Eastern Naval Command, Calabar to mark the end of a two-day meeting of the chiefs of naval staff/heads of gendarmerie of ECOWAS Maritime Pilot Zone E countries that took place recently at Transcorp Hotel in Calabar.
Admiral Jibrin noted that contemporary trans-border criminal elements posed serious security challenges to the economic survival of member-states since the hoodlums neither recognised nor respect borders, hence the need for collaborative action to flush them out.
He commended ECOWAS for taking bold steps to tackle the regional maritime security challenges and reassured the coastal states that they stood to benefit immensely from the security partnership the decisions reached at the meeting would foster.
The ECOWAS Maritime Pilot Zone E countries that participated in the inaugural meeting included Nigeria, Togo, Benin Republic and Niger Republic, while¬†Cameroun and Ghana participated in the meeting as observers ECOWAS nations. The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, ECOWAS, Mrs Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, moderated the meeting.