Nigeria navy’s involvement stresses the country’s zero tolerance towards piracy conspirators
Piracy has been a chronic problem for Nigeria, and a massive threat to the country’s maritime economy. The 2.3m km2 Gulf of Guinea is a hotbed for piracies and kidnappings. The last recorded total economic cost of piracy in West Africa has been estimated as $777.1 million annually between 2015 and 2017. International Maritime Bureau (IMB)’s data revealed piracy incidents between Guinea and Angola accounts for 90 per cent of kidnappings in the world.
The need for stronger enforcement
Experts reportedly observed increasingly bold and violent tactics were used by well-armed pirates operating out of Nigeria’s hard-to-police Delta swamps. Rear Admiral A.Z. Gambo, Nigeria’s naval chief of staff expressed his “zero tolerance” approach towards criminality and will adopt a “heavy hand” against those involved. He said all operation commanders will sustain aggressive clearance operations to make suspected militants, cults and pirate camps non-conducive for any nefarious activities to thrive.
Addressing naval officers and commanders, Admiral Gambo remarked, “The established policies and measures to sanction identified Nigerian Navy personnel that collude with economic saboteurs, drug traffickers/barons, bandits, kidnappers and armed robbers shall be overhauled and strengthened.”
Nigeria is currently under pressure from Norwegian Shipowners’ Association to resolve the growing issues of pirate attacks and kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea. While foreign navies from France, Spain and Italy periodically patrol the region’s international waters, only Nigerian naval personnel are allowed to carry arms onboard vessels within its coastal waters.