Former Legal Adviser and Secretary to the Board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Barrister Mathew Egbadon yesterday said Nigeria loses a staggering $2 billion (N330 billion) to oil theft, piracy and fish poaching every year.
Egbadon while quoting another expert, Godfrey Onuoha who presented a paper tittled ‘Piracy and maritime security in Gulf of Guinea; Nigeria as a microcosm’ in 2012 analyzed that Nigeria loses about $800 million yearly to poachers who came to take away different species of fish from the nation’s waters unchecked.
Egbadon quoted Onuoha as saying Nigeria loses $9 million to piracy annually and $15.5 million annually to oil theft.
Egbadon also quoted the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Dieziani Alison-Madueke as saying Nigeria loses N1.29 trillion to maritime security breaches. He said the amount represents a quarter of the nation’s annual budget.
Egbadon however said the illegalities that occur unabated justified the need for the partnership between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to ensure safety and security on the waterways.
“A lot of illegalities are going on in our waters; in the Gulf of Guinea in particular and if the situation is not confronted, the countries in this region will be poor because of the nefarious activities that go on there hence, there is need for NAF to come on board to help fight illegalities on our water.
“If the rate of impunity that thrive in the Gulf of Guinea is not combated, countries in the Gulf of Guinea would remain poor.
“Aside crude oil export, 65 percent of total maritime traffic in volume and value in West Africa pass through Nigeria therefore all hands must be on deck to fight this scourge,” Egbadon, who is also a former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, said.
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