Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State yesterday raised concern over security at West African Ports. He therefore called for regional integration among West African countries to ensure adequate safety of lives and property within the coastal regions.
The governor who spoke at the opening session of the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) in Africa, held in Lagos, said that the state was concerned on the level of criminal activities hinged on its status as the city hosting the busiest ports in the region.
Ambode, who was represented by his deputy, Idiat Adebule lamented that the increase in crime rates poses threats to the effectiveness of the ports in the region, stressing “the maritime sector remains a critical factor towards achieving economic prosperity for the region”
According to him “Nigeria as a country with the largest economy in Africa must take the lead and a launch a proactive measure to end these criminal activities. It is germane to our socio economic growth.
“We are aware of the strategic role Lagos State plays as harboring the largest port and maritime activities in the West African sub region. As a government, we are ready to partner and offer necessary support to put an end to this menace,” he added.
Ambode affirmed that unless there is a regional collaboration between stakeholders in the region, the full benefit and opportunities that abound in the sector cannot be achieved.
The governor however enjoined participants at the conference to proffer solutions that will end activities of criminals in the maritime sector.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas explained that the Offshore Patrol Vessel conference for Africa, the second in the series, is another platform created by stakeholders in the maritime industry to address the challenges and threats confronting the sector.