What is responsible for the spike in pirate activities on Nigerian waters?

Capt Alfred Oniye (Seafarer)The increase of sea pirate in Nigeria water is caused by insecurity and weak law enforcement. Nigerian Navy could only cover 5% of the territorial sea and 1% in the contiguous zone. The government (NSA, CNS, NIMASA DG, and Transport Minister) needs to take more concrete and stronger steps in dealing with these issues.  Until then, expect the piracy threat to remain high. 

Abayomi Mukandas (Port Facility Security Officer)

A whole lot of robust conversation need to be ignited around P&I insurance and technology devices that detect danger at sea at about 500km distance from the ship calling our local Ports otherwise, Nigeria will go hungry if we fail to attend to the crisis. The bitter truth is that for trade and shipping business to thrive in Nigeria, we need to play our roles as professionals. Our local ships can't enter ports in Europe and other ports around the world due to lack of 'Protection & Indemnity Insurance Policy and the other hand, the foreign ships with P&I policy calling at Nigerian ports and parts of West coast have problems with Piracy at the Gulf of Guinea hence threats to Economy which is import dependent.

 Okechukwu Vincent (Maritime Stakeholder) 

I believe the Nigerian Navy, the maritime police and other security apparatus are trying their best, but to cover our territorial waters is not an easy task, especially in the Gulf of Guinea it requires funding, and no matter the millions of dollars you give to them they would still need more assistance in terms of helicopter surveillance, fast moving speedboats and so on. Also, it should be a joint responsibility between the Navy, the marine police an NIMASA . In the Gulf of Guinea now, there is an upsurge in criminal activities and there is need to look at it critically, so that it does not escalate. 

Aloma Okanlawon Idris (Seafarer) 

The spike in the level of piracy that we are experiencing now is due to lack of better community policing in the Niger Delta region, there is continuous use of military force which in the long run comes with brutalization of innocent civilians, this has made cooperating with law enforcement in the area more difficult.

The government needs to take more concrete steps in dealing with on-shore issues such as stronger law enforcement, better community-law enforcement relations, better counter-narratives and improved socio-economic conditions in the region. Until then, expect the piracy threat to remain high. 

Captain Emmanuel Iheanacho (CEO Integrated Oil and Gas)

I think it is all about people’s criminal intent, some people want to reap where they didn’t sow and they cause a lot of security problems in the maritime domain, they threaten the safety and welfare of the crews onboard the ship and also threaten the stability of our national economy. Because a lot of people are watching and if they think that we have a piracy problem then we have to pay a premium in terms of vessels that come in here and the cost of freight goes up and the cost of goods are now so high. So, it is not a good phenomenon, it is not something that one would wish for. The challenges can be addressed just like we address any challenges that face us, we have a Navy and they have to be provided with resources to mount regular and very effective patrols. We could have a hierarchy of platforms when you have a big ship which is the mother ship from which smaller vessels operate.

 Comrade Muhammad Tanko (NIWA Zone Chairman, Merchant Navy)

I would say that one of the reasons piracy is on the increase is because of joblessness, the rate of unemployment is high and as a result of that, some of these boys are easily manipulated to go into some of these criminalities. You know they don’t have much to do, and as a result, they will go into some of these crimes. I will advise the government to focus more on this South-South area because the attack is enormous there, and the government should at least get some facilities and the needed tools that can curb this type of menace. More equipment like gunboats should be provided to support the Navy; I mean sophisticated gunboats that can withstand the equipment that these pirates are using. With these strategies, I feel these menace can be curbed, there is need for more equipment on the waterways to be checking these things, and there should be frequent patrol on the waterways.

 

Engineer Henry Unuigbe (President, NIMENA)

It is all about having good security architecture to tackle piracy; the private strategy may not be effective from what we have seen. If we are doing something several times and it is not working don’t you think we should try another strategy? That was my view.  

 

Mr. Frank Meke (Journalist)

Until there is a definition of how the waterways can be managed in terms of regulation, we will continue to have the attacks. Because you don’t know if it is the Navy of the marine police that will handle that.

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