President Muhammadu Buhari has called for regular meetings among the countries that make up the Gulf of Guinea Commission as a critical route toward achieving peace and security in the region.
Naija News reports that the Nigerian leader made this known on Tuesday at the 3rd Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) in Accra, Ghana’s capital.
Reiterating Nigeria’s commitment and steps towards fighting maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, President Buhari encouraged member countries to enact laws against piracy and other criminal acts as Nigeria has done.
Buhari stressed that the theme of the session “Building a Safe, Secure and Prosperous Gulf of Guinea Region for Sustainable Development” is quite apt and significant for addressing the challenges in the region.
Buhari listed the steps so far taken by the country to further show its steadfastness to the revitalisation and strengthening of the GGC to achieve set objectives.
He said: “We must remain committed to our regular GGC Summits and the Extraordinary Sessions and use these deep-seated fundamental platforms to essentially continue to work out key modalities that could afford us the opportunity to discuss, identify, support strategies and develop capacities to achieve peace, security, and prosperity in the Gulf of Guinea Region.
“As a demonstration of Nigeria’s strong commitment towards the repositioning of the GGC into a more vibrant organisation that will effectively deliver on its mandate, the 5th Ordinary Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Gulf of Guinea Commission was hosted on 13th October 2022 in Abuja, where the Assembly adopted policy decisions towards revitalising the Commission.
“Nigeria considers the effective and optimal function of the GGC as strategic to the global security interests in the Gulf region. These commitments include addressing issues of piracy, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, protection of marine resources as well as irregular migration to the region.
“In June 2019, Nigeria’s National Assembly passed the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019, (POMO act) which aims to prevent and suppress piracy, armed robbery and any other unlawful acts against any ship lawfully operating in the Gulf Region.
“Nigeria continues to deploy significant resources towards tackling piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. In June 2021, the Government of Nigeria unveiled One Hundred and Ninety-Five Million Dollars’ worth of boats, vehicles, and aircraft to spearhead the country’s fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea through the Deep Blue Project.”
Buhari appreciated the chairperson of the assembly, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, for the invitation, as well as the Nigerian outgoing Executive Secretary of the GGC, Ambassador Florence Ukonga, for their dedication and selflessness in the discharge of their functions.
He especially commended the dignified way Ambassador Ukonga had faced the daunting financial challenges in a way that did not compromise the integrity of the organization, urging member countries to be alive to their financial commitments and responsibilities.