Pirate attacks in the coast of Nigeria reduced significantly in the first half of 2017 following the Amnesty Programmes and other measures adopted by the Federal Government, the Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali has disclosed.
Dan-Ali made the disclosure in Rome at a meeting of representatives of Government of G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea and representatives of Gulf of Guinea States. He said only four successful attacks were recorded out of 16 of such attempted attacks during the period.
He said: “In recent years, the socio-economic agitations in the Niger Delta have elicited significant maritime security challenges such as attacks on shipping, kidnapping, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and refining has remained challenging. “Nevertheless, the combination of infrastructure development programmes, engagements with local communities, sustenance of the Amnesty Programme for repentant ex-militants and improved maritime policing activities have proved effective in stemming the tide of insecurity around the coast of Nigeria.
“This is a direct reflection of the activation of dedicated anti-piracy Operation TSARE TEKU off the coast of Niger Delta. “The Federal Government of Nigeria has also initiated plans to establish modular refineries and other programmes to curb crude oil theft and to promote youth employment in the region,’’ the minister said.
Dan-Ali, however, expressed concern of Nigeria about IUUF – Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing activities by foreign flagged ships in the nation’s coastal area. He said that Nigeria was also concerned about the persistent involvement of other nationals in the crude oil theft and piracy activities in the Niger Delta.
“In the course of Nigerian Navy’s anti-piracy operations, we have also seen a trend of preference for kidnap-for-ransom, with involvement of negotiators from outside the region,’’ he said.
The minister, therefore, called for more engaging cooperation and operational collaboration among Gulf of Guinea states and with the G7++ in information sharing on maritime criminal networks, individuals and vessels.