BY OUSMAN NJIE
Foroyaa is informed that Nigeria is to host a Summit on Maritime Security, with Naval Chiefs from 13 West African States and the US Naval Forces. We will do a follow up to find out whether the participating countries have signed the agreement rejected by the National Assembly of the Gambia touching on surveillance of territorial waters of the Gambia by US and Gambian Naval forces to combat drug trafficking and other illegal maritime activities. The meeting in Nigeria appears to be a build up on the meetings held in Benin and Cameroon.
Readers would recall that last Month 25 West African and Central African states held a summit in Cameroon on maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea to coordinate their efforts in addressing illegal activities in the region. They have the aim to initiate a “coordinated Regional and international response to address the problems of piracy, drug trafficking, armed robbery and other illegal maritime activities in the gulf of Guinea” Prior to this, “The Ministers for Security, Foreign Affairs and Defence from the 25 West African and Central African States produced a Memorandum of Understanding on Maritime Security in these two African regions and approved a draft Code of Conduct designed to prevent and combat piracy, armed robbery and illegal activities committed against ships.”
Hence collaboration between Economic Community of West African States and Economic Community of Central African States are growing on Maritime Security with the assistance of the UN and the AU. The Gambia Government needs to remain focused on the fact that surveillance of waters in the West Coast of Africa is going to increase steadily and searches of vessels are likely to continue on international waters which could lead to arrests such as what happened to the Guinea Bissau ex Navy Commander.