Ete-Ibas: Smuggling, kidnapping of sailors threaten Nigeria’s economy

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok Ete-Ibas

Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas. PHOTO: SHIPS & PORTS

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, on Wednesday in Abuja said smuggling and the kidnapping of seafarers for ransom are potent threats to Nigeria’s economy.

He said maritime crimes on the nation’s waters has negatively affected shipping costs and insurance premiums, which result in higher costs of goods and shipping services.

Speaking in Abuja during a press conference to commence the 63rd anniversary celebrations of the Nigerian Navy, the naval chief, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and

Plans, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Enwo, said maritime insecurity exploits the vastness of Nigeria’s maritime environment to facilitate importation of contraband goods that have ripple effects on local productivity.

He said Nigeria has a coastline of about 420 nautical miles and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) that extends 200 nautical miles from the coast totalling about 84,000 square nautical miles of sea area.

He said the country relies on the sea for about 90 per cent of its import and export with oil being a major part of the trade. He added that Nigeria’s maritime area of interest includes the entire Gulf of Guinea (GoG), with a total coastline of about 2,874 nautical miles translating to a maritime area of approximately 574,800 square nautical miles.

On the achievement of the Navy, he said the Federal Government has assisted in the delivery of several ships including offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), patrol crafts and a training ship.

He said since 2015, gains have been made in providing a secure maritime environment leading to increased output in maritime trade, particularly oil production.

He said in order to combat the threats in Nigeria’s maritime domain; the Navy adopted the Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy (TSMS) to guide its operational engagements.

He explained that the concept of operations is based on a proactive layered response to five conflict spectrums characterized by its distances from the coast.