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Nigerian leader laments loss $26.3bn to piracy, sea robbery annually

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says that the country loses about $26.3 billion annually to various forms of criminality, especially piracy…

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari says that the country loses about $26.3 billion annually to various forms of criminality, especially piracy and sea robbery.Inaugurating the Nigerian Navy’s Strategic Maritime Surveillance System, the Falcon Eye Project, on Tuesday at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday, Buhari said that securing Nigeria’s shipping lanes was crucial to the nation’s economic interests.

The Nigerian leader, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said:   “The maritime industry occupies a prominent position in the matrix of our vital economic interests and it encompasses activities ranging from fishing and resource exploration to marine research and shipping among other endeavours.

“Of all these activities, shipping stands out as a critical link in Nigeria’s international trade engagements because it is the cheapest and most efficient means of moving large volumes of goods.

“Given our economic aspirations and our commitment to international trade, ensuring the security of shipping lanes within, and proximate to our waters, is in our national interest.”

According to Buhari, Nigeria’s hydrocarbon resources which are largely domiciled in our maritime environment remain the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.

“It accounts for 55 percent of our GDP, 95 percent of our export earnings, and about 70 percent of government revenue,” local media reports quoted Buhari as saying.

He also said that in recent years, some threats within Nigeria’s maritime environment had taken more harmful dimensions to the economy and even the safety of citizens and commercial entities which used the maritime domain.

“These include, piracy, armed attacks on ships, kidnapping for ransom, crude oil theft, smuggling, as well as Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (IUU).

“It is estimated that Nigeria loses about 26.3 billion dollars annually to various forms of criminality particularly piracy and sea robbery.

“On account of the escalated risks in some of our maritime areas insurance premiums for commercial vessels coming to these areas have risen sharply making maritime trade an unattractive proposition.

“This underscores the need to enhance our maritime security architecture; consequently, a critical contribution of the Falcon Eye System will be the provision of actionable intelligence for curbing maritime threats to our economy,” he added.

Earlier, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, said that the project arose out of the need for national maritime security architecture that would leverage modern technology to enhance the safeguard of the immense hydrocarbon, living and other mineral resources in the nation’s maritime domain.

In his remarks, the National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno said that the project was borne out of the necessity to combat the myriad of security problems within the maritime sector.

He said that the contract was signed in 2014 and designed to provide Nigeria with effective surveillance capability of its entire maritime domain.

 

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