Nigeria, and UK have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) on bilateral military cooperation to tackle terrorism and maritime insecurity in the country.
Dr Olusola Obada, Minister of State for Defence and her British Counterpart, Hon. Andrew Robathan, signed the pact on behalf of their countries.
Obada said the MOU was necessary in view of increased crude oil theft from the Niger Delta which is taken abroad for marketing and refining as well as pipeline vandalism which resulted in environmental degradation.
“We are here to sign an MOU being the third of such agreements. This particular one is in the area of counter-terrorism and maritime security.
“We in Nigeria need all the support we can get to combat oil bunkering, illegal refineries, vandalism of pipelines as we have a lot of refineries in many parts of the Niger Delta.
“And when they refine this crude they throw away about 30 per cent. So, you can imagine the amount of degradation that we have in the environment.
“We need all hands on deck to combat this scourge and also tackle maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. People come to our country to steal our crude oil and refine them abroad,” Obada said.
The Western Europe Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the MOU is to ensure information and experience sharing on Defence as well as Security matters which are of mutual interest to both nations.
It also include specialised military training for personnel, and partnership in addressing regional and international security challenges.
NAN reports that the MOU is valid for five years with an automatic extension of another five years.
In his remark, Robathan pledged UK’s readiness to assist Nigeria in tackling its security challenges, saying that crisis in
Mali, as well as Boko Haram were threats to British interest in the region.
Speaking on Maritime security, he said attention had shifted from Somalia, to the Gulf of Guinea, and expressed Britain’s desire to provide assistance based on request.¬†NAN