There is a clarion call for the immediate establishment of a regional forum for maritime security to tackle headlong the nagging security issues still prevalent in the Gulf of Guinea and by a large extension, the ECOWAS sub-region stretching from Nigeria’s border with Cameroun to the end of Senegal
The Port Facility Security Officers Forum of the Lagos Maritime Security Zone made the call for the establishment of the ECOWAS regional security forum to confront the hydra-headed problems of security in the zone and present a common and united front towards eliminating the threat posed by insecurity such as piracy, kidnapping, militancy and other criminalities.
Dr. Ignatius Uche chairman of the forum stated the position of the security body while speaking at their monthly meeting in Lagos. He said the need to adopt a regional approach towards eliminating the security challenge in the zone is borne out of the fact that security issues are common and peculiar to the zone.
Uche revealed that this position has already been communicated through the existing channel to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA being the rightful or Designated Authority DA to implement the International Ship and Port Security ISPS Code, a maritime convention by the International Maritime Organisation IMO.
According to Dr. Uche, “the PFSO forum is evolving. We started with the Lagos Maritime Security Zone of the PFSO and grew to have the National Maritime Security Zone made up of both the Lagos and the Niger Delta Maritime Security Zones which gave birth to the PFSO Forum of Nigeria.
“Now we are looking at how we can synergize with other countries in the sub-region with a view to combating piracy and sea robbery from a common security front since we have a common maritime security challenge. More so this is line with the objective of regional integration in the area of maritime security.
Uche assured that members of the forum are steadfast in pursuing this objective and noble vision and urged NIMASA being the DA to appreciate and adopt this initiative and push it through the relevant levels of government not only in Nigeria but in the ECOWAS sub-region.