The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside has charged member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to eradicate the scourge of piracy in the sub region in order to grow the economy.
Dr. Peterside who stated this while delivering a goodwill message at the meeting of the Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament also said that the fight against piracy must be a collective responsibility of member states to be successful.
According to him, “The theme of this meeting, Maritime Security and the Fight Against Piracy: The Role of the ECOWAS Parliament in the Implementation of the Integrated Maritime Security Policy of ECOWAS could not have been more timely coming exactly one month after the signing of the Lome Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development in Africa by Heads of government in Africa under the auspices of the African Union”.
Speaking further, he observed that the adoption of the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS) and the 2012 Yaoundé declaration of the Heads of States and Governments of Central and West African States on Maritime Safety and Security is a clear demonstration of the critical role of the ECOWAS parliament in ensuring Safety and Security of the sub region’s shipping and maritime transportation including the territorial waters and the seas.
The objectives of these two sub-regional instruments are in sync with the goals of the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050 which culminated into the signing of a Charter on Maritime security, safety and development in Africa on the 15th October, 2015.
While acknowledging that the ocean provides a unique opportunity to optimize the benefits of the blue economy and to provide special opportunities to tap into the benefits of nature, he urged the participants to engage in sensitizing member countries on a harmonized legal framework that will ensure safe, secure shipping and cleaner oceans in the ECOWAS sub-region.
“Our economies are unfortunately tied to the prospects of the ocean; the ocean is the medium for which most of our trade and transactions are conducted, the ocean also provides a unique opportunity for us to optimize the benefits of the blue economy and a special opportunity for us to tap into the benefits of nature”, Dr. Peterside observed.
The Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Parliament which met in Lagos is aimed at developing implementation strategies against maritime piracy and related crimes in the West African Region.