Nigeria and the Us Gov, Collaborate In Securing The Gulf Of Guinea.
The Gulf of Guinea is confronted with complex challenges ranging from piracy, crude oil theft and trafficking, mostly through the nation’s maritime domain and these have been of serious concern to the member states as well as foreign investors.
This was disclosed by the Honorable Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan- Ali while playing host to a high-powered military delegation from United State of America, led by the Ambassador, His Excellency Stuart Symington.
Addressing the delegates, Dan- Ali stated that the diplomatic relationship between Nigeria and United States dated back to 1960 and this according to him has continued to improve through various bilateral corporations on foreign policy goals such as regional peace keeping.
He said both countries since 2010 under the U.S and Nigeria Bi-National Commission(NBC), a forum for high- level discussions, meets regularly on issues that borders on areas of mutual interest, such as good governance, transparency and integrity, energy and investment, regional security, the Niger Delta, agriculture and food security.
He noted that, the recent visit of the United States Secretary of States, Rex Tillerson to Nigeria, focused on series of terrorist attacks and abductions in Nigeria, and expressed the need to strengthening the partnership between the two countries, most especially in the area of counter- terrorism.
Dan-Ali also said that, in line with the statutory responsibilities of the Nigerian Navy on the protection of the Nations maritime domain from all forms of threats, Nigerian Navy has participated in the seventh Operation Obangame Express, held in the Gulf of Guinea, sponsored by the United States, African Command. The operation is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information- sharing practices and tactical interdiction expertise,(Naval operations that aimed at delaying, disrupt or destroy enemy forces),to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-bases illicit activities.
He further added that, the Gulf of guinea is endowed with abundant of mineral resources, most especially hydrocarbon which attracted major multi-national oil firms as well as other investors to the oil region, therefore the need for Nigerian Navy to focus on anti-crude oil theft, anti-piracy, illicit drug smuggling and illegal and unregulated fishing cannot be overemphasize.
Earlier in his speech, the III Commander Allied Joint Forces Command Naples/Commander, US Naval Forces Europe/Commander, US Naval Forces Africa, Admiral James G Foggo, stated that Nigeria is a very strong Nation and a leader in the Gulf of Guinea, going by the roles she had played in maintaining security and stability in the Region.
In his words “Nigeria’s friendship and security is paramount to the U.S government, therefore the need to provide security in the maritime against terrorist element that may try to invade Nigerians shores”.
Admiral Foggo further assured Nigerian government of the U.S commitment in transforming Nigerian Navy to better one.
He however invited some of the Nigerian Navy Flag officers, to join them in a course facilitated by the U.S Naval War College, which will drill them on best practices in maritime sector.
Modupe Okon & Esther Fafa.