The office of the United Nations of West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) has said that state judicial authorities in West Africa should be empowered to prosecute perpetrators and curb impunity in the Gulf of Guinea.
The organisation made the resolution at the just concluded workshop on Maritime Insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea with the theme: “Strengthening the Adjudicative and Enforcement Jurisdiction of states in the fight against maritime crimes through adherence to relevant International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and African Union (AU) instruments.”
The workshop was brought together by experts, academics and government representatives from various countries of the sub-region as well as from the United Nations.
The objective of the workshop was to raise awareness among ECOWAS members about the importance of ratifying the relevant maritime security instruments and their incorporation into the national legislation to empower judicial authorities in the fight against maritime insecurity and theft. They noted that addressing maritime insecurity calls for a holistic approach, blending kinetic and non-kinetic elements.
The Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mahamat Saleh, emphasised the importance of information sharing among the relevant actors to ensure vigilance against incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea.
He urged the countries to build the capacity of African states by domesticating relevant legal instruments such as the 2005 SUA Convention and the Lomé Charter.
Also, states were encouraged to address the discrepancies in the 2013 Yaoundé Code of Conduct as a matter of urgency, other types of maritime crimes, notably drug trafficking and Unreported and Unregulated fishing(IUU), which have continued to threaten peace, security, and development in the sub- region.