By Eyo Charles
Calabar ‚Äî Following increase in maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Obiora Charles Medani, has appealed to Nigeria’s military partners in Europe to donate boats they no longer use to nations in West Africa.
The FOC said: “I am aware that there are very many (gun) boats in Europe that are no longer being used. Those boats should be very useful in West Africa if they are refurbished and technically and logistically sustained and sent to us.”
He spoke at the closing ceremony of maritime security crisis response exercise code named Exercise OTUM KIET held inside NNS Victory jetty in Calabar. It was organised by the office of the National Security Adviser in collaboration with the European Union’s Critical Maritime Routes in the Gulf of Guinea (CRIMGO) and aimed at enhancing inter-agency cooperation.
Medani added: “We wish to point out to our European partners that just as they are improving our knowledge, the biggest issue in maritime security in West Africa is not just skills but platforms. Without the capacity to enforce what is learnt, that gap will continue to be there. So we call on our European partners to also look at the possibility of providing enforcement capability alongside the expertise.”
National Security Adviser, Alhaji Mohammed Sambo Dasuki, represented by retired Major General Babatunde Samuel, said the federal government has approved for the CRIMGO training of military, paramilitary personnel and critical maritime security stakeholders to hold twice a year in the country.
He stated that alongside Nigeria, other African leaders and decision makers have moved forward with the continent’s approach towards safe, secure and stable maritime domain with the adoption of Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy and plan of Action by the African Union.
The EU CRIMGO training coordinator, Eric Glotin, assured that the continuous training of maritime security stakeholders and impartation of technical skills will help to decrease the challenges currently being faced by nations in West Africa.