Influx of Illicit Arms Encouraging Piracy Around Gulf of Guinea, Says Gen. Agwai
EMERGENCY DIGEST- A former Chief of Defence Staff, retired Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, says the influx of small arms and light weapons has heightened piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
Speaking at the launch of a Counter-Piracy and Response project in the Gulf of Guinea Wednesday in Abuja, Agwai said the route had remained a critical route for human interactions and trade, but its stability was being threatened.
“Piracy has become increasingly sophisticated with the influx of small arms and light weapons in the hands of pirates and criminals on waterways and high on seas.
“The maritime domain accounts for the movement of most global goods and services through different sea passages like the China Sea, the Strait of Singapore, the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea amongst others.
“Some of these sea passages have, however, continued to experience hijacks, kidnappings, robbery and piracy,’’ he said.
According to him, in contemporary times, sea interactions have brought about global economic prosperity and increased the relationship between nations and cultures.
He said incessant pirate attacks had also resulted in increased maritime insurance costs, higher prices of goods and merchandise, including oil and gas resources.
Commandant, MLALIPKC, Maj.-Gen. Auwal Fagge, said piracy in the Gulf of Guinea had been discouraging foreign investment.
He said the weakened control of offshore areas had slowed deployment of blue economy and encouraged illicit freight and illegal fishing.
Director, Peacekeeping Operations, Naval Headquarters, Rear Adm. Abdulmajid Ibrahim, said the Nigerian Navy had continued to evolve strategies to tackle piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.