22nd June, 2013
Amidst reports by the International Maritime Bureau that the Gulf region of West Africa has displaced Somalia as the world’s hottest piracy region, President Goodluck Jonathan will travel to Yaounde, Cameroun, tomorrow, to participate in a regional discussion on the issue that threatens maritime trade.
The discussion will be at the Summit of West and Central African Heads of State and Government on Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea which opens on Monday, June 24, 2013.
The summit has been convened against the background of rising incidents of piracy in the resource-rich Gulf of Guinea, with Nigerian pirates said to be the most active.
President Jonathan will join other Heads of State of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS) in the Camerounian capital to deliberate on new proposals and a joint action plan to tackle piracy and maritime criminality in the gulf.
Documents to be considered and ratified by Heads of State at the Summit includes a Memorandum of Agreement among ECOWAS, ECCAS and the Gulf of Guinea Commission on maritime safety and security in West and Central Africa, the policy statements of the Heads of State and Government on maritime safety and security, as well as a Code of Conduct on the fight against piracy, armed robbery and illegal maritime activities.
It is expected that at the conclusion of the summit, legal instruments for cooperation on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea will be adopted by participating heads of state and government.
The legal instruments and the Memorandum of Agreement on joint prevention and repression of illegal activities in the gulf will establish a concrete basis for the two regional blocs to share intelligence, conduct joint patrols and jointly repress piracy in their maritime domain.
President Jonathan will be accompanied to the summit by the Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, the Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Idris Umar, the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Joseph Ezeoba and the Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi.
The President will also hold bi-lateral talks with President Paul Biya on bilateral issues such as border security and the welfare of Nigerians living in Cameroun.
He will meet with the Nigerian community in Cameroun before returning to Abuja on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.