Policing the sea lanes of the Gulf of Guinea must be a joint responsibility of the Gulf of Guinea countries and their allies.
This was the assertion of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, during her keynote address yesterday at the Oil and Gas Focus Day of the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Africa Conference.
The Minister, who was represented by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Andrew Yakubu, said that, with the millions of barrels of oil supplied by countries in the Gulf of Guinea region on daily basis, maritime security is essential to maintain the flow of revenue from oil and gas, which, according to her, have the potential to contribute to development in the region.
She said that the Gulf of Guinea enjoys the advantage of open sea lanes, but, this, according to her, can also prove a disadvantage, because it requires an extensive deployment of security resources for such wide coverage that are well beyond the capabilities of Gulf of Guinea countries.
She said that with the alarming incidences of hijacking and kidnapping of vessels in the region, the OPV Africa conference is a credible platform to emphasise cooperation and collaboration among the navies of Gulf of Guinea countries.
“Resurrecting the Gulf of Guinea security protocols for which I am sure discussions in this forum will bring attention to. This may include assistance to Nigeria and other G of G countries for security hardware: Smart policing of the stolen crude trails, finger printing technology, financial tracking (follow the money laundering trail), engagement of Interpol on issues relating to international crude theft and cross border,” the Minister said.