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Nigeria ready for Africa Naval Exercise on May 15 – Buhari

Says regular summits, naval drills required to secure Gulf of Guinea

The President, Major Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday in Accra, Ghana, said Nigeria “very much looks forward” to the proposed joint Africa Naval Exercise of the Gulf of Guinea Commission that will be held in Lagos on May 15, 2023.

He also identified regular meetings among the countries that make up the Gulf of Guinea Commission as a critical route towards achieving peace and security in the region.

According to a statement signed by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari gave the assurance when he spoke for the last time as Nigeria’s President at the 3rd Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Gulf of Guinea Commission taking place in the Ghanaian capital.

In the statement titled ‘Regular GGC summits essential for peace and security in the Gulf of Guinea region, president Buhari declares,’ he encouraged member countries to enact laws against piracy and other criminal acts as Nigeria has done.

He explained the steps Nigeria has taken so far to show its steadfastness to the revitalisation and strengthening of the GGC to achieve set objectives.

“As a demonstration of Nigeria’s strong commitment towards the repositioning of the GGC into a more vibrant organisation that will effectively deliver on its mandate, the 5th Ordinary Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Gulf of Guinea Commission was hosted on October 13, 2022 in Abuja, where the Assembly adopted policy decisions towards revitalising the Commission.

“Nigeria considers the effective and optimal function of the GGC as strategic to the global security interests in the Gulf region.

“These commitments include addressing issues of piracy, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, protection of marine resources as well as irregular migration to the region,” he said.

He noted that in June 2019, Nigeria’s National Assembly passed the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019, which aims to prevent and suppress Piracy, Armed Robbery and any other unlawful acts against any ship lawfully operating in the Gulf Region.

“Nigeria continues to deploy significant resources towards tackling Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

In June 2021, the Government of Nigeria unveiled $190m worth of boats, vehicles and aircraft to spear-head the country’s fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea through the Deep Blue Project,” Buhari added.

Buhari thanked president Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, the chairperson of the Assembly, for the invitation, as well as Ambassador Florence Ukonga, the Nigerian outgoing Executive Secretary of the GGC and her Management Team for their dedication and selflessness in the discharge of their functions.

While commending Ukonga for her successfully weathering the daunting financial challenges without compromising the integrity of the organisation, he urged member countries to promptly honour their financial commitments and responsibilities.

He lauded the team for elevating “the status of the GGC to such a level that enables it to partner with the African Union to implement some of her sub-regional programmes on maritime security, safety and sustainable developmental issues with profound impact on Central and West Africa.

We very much look forward to May 15, 2023, when the proposed joint Africa Naval Exercise of the Commission would take place in Lagos,” he said.

In his welcome address, President Nana Akufo- Addo reminded delegates of the challenges the commission faced, enjoining Member States to promptly discharge their financial obligations to enable it fulfil her statutory responsibilities.

Source: Punch Ng.

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