Determined to increase awareness of maritime piracy and other transnational crimes in the Gulf of Guinea, the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peace Keeping Centre, in collaboration with the Government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Nigerian Army, organised a two-week course for senior military officer, para-military and other stakeholders.
In a statement on Monday, the group said that the training was titled, ‘Anti-piracy in the Gulf of Guinea’.
The statement explained that the trainees comprised 30 participants drawn from the armed forces and Police of five West African countries namely, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo,
“As well as senior para-military officers and civilians from several MDAs including NIMASA, Customs, and the academia,” the statement read in part.
According to the Commandant MLAILPKC, Brigadier General, Obinna Onubogu, the course objective is to build the capacity of participants on cross-cutting issues related to piracy in the GoG as well as the mitigating factors to enhance national and regional security.
“To achieve the course objectives, MLAILPKC leveraged the expertise existing in the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, and maritime universities in Nigeria to deliver some aspects of the course so that participants get a practical demonstration of piracy actions at sea and its mitigation,” he stated.
The Commandant stressed that the course is one way that MLAILPKC lends its support to achieving the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2634, on piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, which was adopted in 2022.
“The UNSG Resolution 2634 which follows on the heels of UNSG Resolution 2039 of 2012, and the “Yaoundé Code of Conduct”, of 2013, expressed the Council’s deep concern about the “grave and persistent threat” posed by piracy, and transnational organised crime in the GoG and to the sustainable development of regional states,” Onubogu explained.
In his address, the Special Guest of Honour and Chief of Training (Army) Maj Gen Sani Mohammed said “The Nigerian Army under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, is focused on transforming training Institutions to international citadels of training and character development”.
Mohammed who was represented at the event by the Commandant Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration, Brigadier General Julius Osifo, lamented that the maritime sector is challenged by crimes such as piracy, which means that creating a safe maritime environment will remain an area of special interest for various governments along the GoG.
In his remarks, the UNDP Team Lead, on Governance, Peace, and Security, Mr. Matthew Alao, expressed worry that the spate of piracy and maritime crimes in the GoG is of grave concern as a steady reduction in the menace which was experienced between 2021 and 2022 has been wiped off by an upwards push of about 50percent in piracy and maritime crimes recorded in the first nine months of 2023.