The Summit of West and Central African Heads of State and Government on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea opened yesterday in the Camerounian capital, Yaounde, with President Goodluck Jonathan and other Heads of State of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS) deliberating on new proposals and a joint action plan to tackle piracy and other maritime-based criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
Jonathan had arrived Cameroun Sunday, and Nigeria, expectedly, had played a leading role during the deliberations yesterday.
Nigeria is expected to continue in her pivotal in the implementation of the summit’s resolutions.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, the summit was convened against the backdrop of rising incidents of piracy in the resource-rich Gulf of Guinea.
Abati said that documents to be considered and ratified by Heads of State at the summit include 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; Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro; Minister of Transport, Mr. Idris Umar; Minister of State for Defence, Mrs. Olusola Obada; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Joseph Ezeoba and the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi,” Abati said.
Jonathan is also expected to hold bilateral talks with President Paul Biya on such issues as border security and the welfare of Nigerians living in Cameroun.
Jonathan is also expected to meet with the Nigerian community in Cameroun before returning to Abuja today.
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