The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Auwal Zubairu Gambo, has said that maritime threats are a challenge to the Nigerian Navy combat capability.
Speaking at the opening of the 2021 Chief of Naval Staff Annual Conference held at Government House in Kano State on Thursday, Gambo expressed worry that criminal activities in Nigeria’s maritime environment are directly targeted at the economic lifeline of the country.
According to him, the scourge of maritime illegalities such as sea robbery, piracy, crude oil theft, poaching, human and illicit trafficking of weapons and drugs, among others, constitute serious challenges to the development of Nigeria and Africa at large.
“Characteristically, the maritime threats have become of major concern and are evolving and challenging the combat capability of the Nigerian Navy and other stakeholders,” he said.
The Chief of Naval Staff however noted that one of the major implications of the emerging security situation is the increasing demand for effective collaboration in maritime policing.
He also noted that “the present situation calls for constant reappraisals, greater collaboration as well as inter-agency cooperation within stakeholders.
“In recent times, some federal and local initiatives were initiated towards ensuring greater productivity of security efforts. These initiatives testify the political commitment to security and developmental imperatives in our maritime domain.
“In the recent past, a huge capability gap has emerged amongst stakeholders in the efficient discharge of their constitutional mandates. I therefore believe that this conference would provide a veritable platform to proffer workable solutions in fine-tuning Nigerian Navy efforts at securing our maritime environment,” Gambo added.
He thanked the Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who was the chief host of the conference, for his hospitality and ensuring the actualization of the conference.
In his remarks, Ganduje noted that Nigerian maritime is endowed with numerous living and non-living resources which, if carefully explored and managed, can contribute tremendously to the prosperity, peace and stability of the country and its neighbors.
He however noted that “maritime crimes are a hindrance to the ability of Nigeria to effectively explore and manage the resources and opportunities contained therein for its own economic livelihood, prosperity, peace and stability as well as for the benefits of neighboring countries and regions.”
Ganduje also noted that the rising maritime crimes on economic livelihood of the country calls for immediate initiation of various collective responses and interventions at national and stakeholders’ levels to tackle the menace.
The governor charged the participants to bring their wealth of experience and expertise in the maritime sector to bear in the deliberations at the conference.