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Nigeria Invested $195m In 2021 To Fight Piracy In Gulf Of Guinea – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that his administration spent a whopping sum of $195 million in 2021 to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

President Buhari disclosed this on Tuesday while assuring Nigerians that the country will continue to devote enormous resources to combating piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Speaking at the third extraordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC), in Accra, Ghana, Buhari gave his final speech as President of Nigeria, “Building a Safe, Secure and Prosperous Gulf of Guinea Region for Sustainable Development,” was quite apt and significant towards addressing the challenges in the region.

According to him,  in June 2021 through the Deep Blue Sea, the government launched $195 million worth of boats, vehicles and aircraft to spearhead the country’s fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Additionally, he added that holding frequent meetings of the nations that make up the Gulf of Guinea Commission was essential to achieving peace and stability in the area.

He said: “We must remain committed to our regular GGC summits and the extraordinary sessions and use these deep-seated fundamental platforms to essentially continue to work out key modalities that could afford us the opportunity to discuss, identify, support strategies, and develop capacities to achieve peace, security, and prosperity in the Gulf of Guinea.”

The President reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to and actions in combating maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea and urged member nations to take similar legal action against piracy and other criminal activity.

He elaborated on actions already done by the nation to demonstrate its continued commitment to the GGC’s renewal and strengthening to meet predetermined goals.

“As a demonstration of Nigeria’s strong commitment to the repositioning of the Gulf of Guinea Commission into a more vibrant organization that will effectively deliver on its mandate, the Assembly adopted policy decisions towards revitalizing the commission at the 5th Ordinary Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government on October 13, 2022, in Abuja,” he said.

“Nigeria considers the effective and optimal function of the GGC as strategic to the global security interests in the Gulf region. 

‘’These commitments include addressing issues of piracy, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, protection of marine resources as well as irregular migration to the region.

 “In June 2019, Nigeria’s National Assembly passed the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019, (POMO Act), which aims to prevent and suppress piracy, armed robbery, and any other unlawful acts against any ship lawfully operating in the Gulf region.’’

The president of Nigeria took advantage of the opportunity to thank President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, the Assembly’s Chairperson, for the invitation as well as Ambassador Florence Ukonga, the outgoing executive secretary of the GGC from Nigeria, and her management team for their commitment and selflessness in carrying out their duties.

Buhari praised Ambassador Ukonga in particular for the poise with which she handled the enormous financial issues without jeopardizing the organization’s integrity. He urged member nations to be aware of their financial obligations and responsibilities.

The team, he continued, should be commended for raising “the status of the GGC to such a level that enables it to work with the African Union to undertake some of her sub-regional initiatives on maritime security, safety, and sustainable development concerns with significant impact on Central and West Africa.

“We very much look forward to May 15, 2023, when the proposed joint Africa Naval Exercise of the Commission would take place in Lagos,” he said.

After multiple virtual summits since 2019 due to the COVID-19 epidemic, President Nana Akufo-Addo expressed his excitement at the actual summit in his welcome speech.

He reminded delegates of the difficulties the commission was facing and urged member states to pay their debts on time so that it could fulfil its legal commitments.

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