A Master Mariner; Capt. Waredi Eniosuoh has raised the alarm over plans by the European Union to take over the security of the Gulf of Guinea.
You will recall that after efforts by governments around the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) to deter piracy, kidnapping for ransom and organised crimes failed, the European Union (EU) launched the pilot case of what they called ‘Coordinated Maritime Presences’ (CMP) in the area.
This was included in a document containing the result of proceedings approved by the European Union Council at its meeting held on 25 January 2021.
According to the document, the EU said it would ensure political control and provide strategic guidance West and Central African States in order to address the many challenges to maritime security, including organised crime.
EU specifically it stated: “The Gulf of Guinea continues to face a challenging environment in which piracy, armed robbery at sea, kidnapping of seafarers, illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, smuggling and trafficking of drugs and arms, as well as transnational organised crime pose a major and increasing threat to maritime security”
The pilot case aims to allow the EU to: Enhance the visibility of EU maritime presence and support the Union’s strategic and political objectives, including conflict prevention; Promote international cooperation at sea; exchange of information in the maritime security domain.
However, reacting to the plans of the EU on the security of the Gulf of Guinea, a marine captain and former Director of Shipping Development, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Capt. Waredi Eniosuoh in a telephone chat with our correspondent, condemned the plan by the European Union to take charge of security in the Gulf of Guinea, Waredi stated that the plan action could be another means of re colonizing the states in the gulf.
The maritime expert also questioned a clause in the document which states that the European Union are coming to protect their interest, he questions why the EU cannot open up on the particular interest they are coming to protect.
He stated that the EU policy clearly shows that the Nigeria Navy is completely ineffective, while urging government of the Gulf of Guinea states to question the interest that the EU said they were coming to protect.
According to him, “The problem we have just experienced with this EU policy is that we are now worse off, they clearly stated in that policy document that they are coming to protect their interest, what do they mean by that; which means their people can now come into our waters, steal our fish, and oil and runaway or walk away because I don’t know what they meant by the fact they said they are coming to protect their interest. Remember that we have suffered in their hands through colonization, so what is this interest this time around, because they are not coming to escort their own ship and how do you identify a criminal ship at sea, are you just going to keep silence upon any ship you see in the Gulf of Guinea, what is their rule of engagement”.
“So literally they’ve just told us that our Navy is completely ineffective, so they are coming to do their job; so it’s a tricky one and Nigerians needs to open their eyes very well, by what they mean to come and protect their interest. So I recommend that government in the Gulf of Guinea will sit down and recommend a very eye to eye discussion on what they mean by coming to protect their interest, they must define it, because another danger you now have is they could destabilize our country”, he cautioned.
“What do I mean by that, their Navy can come in the name of protecting their people and what if they bring in weapons to destabilize us, what do we do, so we are not looking wide at all, they can come as they will, because their ships are like shops, they carried weapons , so tomorrow if they don’t like a particular government, all they need do is just hand somebody and the next thing is we are completely awash, and our democracy is gone, you know our area is very rich in mineral resources, they could easily penetrate us and put one rebel leader and say look we can sponsor you and while we are fighting the militants, they will be stealing our resources and that is the way they have been operating in Africa before now, so we don’t know the ramification of what is coming our way at all”, he said.