Let’s address growing insecurity in Gulf of Guinea maritime space – President to GGC leaders

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea to ensure enhanced cooperation in addressing the growing insecurity in the region’s maritime space.

He said criminality in the maritime domain of the Gulf of Guinea was a threat to the security and economic development of the region, as such countries in the geo-political space of the region must unite in their efforts to curtail and eradicate the menace.

President Akufo-Addo made the call at the opening of the Third Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) in Accra yesterday.

The high-level meeting, convened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is also the Chairman of the Assembly was to discuss strategies for strengthening peace and security in the fight against maritime-related crimes in the GGC region.

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The session was also arranged for the swearing-in of the members of the new Executive Secretariat of the Commission.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that the collaboration and cooperation amongst the states of the Gulf of Guinea region was “crucial” because of the interconnectivity of maritime activities.

“For us to have an effective and well-organised defence of the Gulf of Guinea Region, the countries in the Gulf of Guinea must be encouraged so that collectively, we can make a significant difference in maintaining maritime peace and security in the Gulf of Guinea region.

“Through well-coordinated collaboration and cooperation on matters of common interest among the members of the region, illegal activities at sea could be greatly reduced…Working together will enable us to build a safe, secure and prosperous Gulf of Guinea region for sustainable development,” he said.

The Gulf of Guinea region has become a global hotspot for incidents of piracy, oil bunkering, robbery at sea, hostage-taking, human and drug trafficking, terrorism and corruption, illegal unregulated and unreported fishing, arms trafficking, pollution of the environment and smuggling.

The primary responsibility for fighting that threat lay with the countries of the region, who have to garner substantial political will at the sub-regional and regional levels to confront the threat.

Before the meeting went into a closed-door session, President Akufo-Addo indicated the deliberations would dwell on the collective interest of enlarging the membership of the Gulf of Guinea Commission to have all coastal states in West and Central Africa represented on the international body.

“We shall continue to work to address this maritime security issues to help curtail and eradicate the menace caused by this criminality in the region so as to build a safe, secure and prosperous Gulf of Guinea region for the sustainable development of our people,” he said.

Also on the agenda of the meeting are the proposal for the possible expansion of the members of the commission to include all the 19 coastal states of the geo-political Gulf of Guinea for the effective collaboration of Navies, Coast Guard and other relevant maritime agencies in the geo-political space of the Gulf of Guinea.

Since the establishment of the Commission, when five countries- Angola, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe signed the treaty in Libreville, in Gabon in 2001, the commission has since witnessed the inclusion of four member states, Equatorial Guinea in 2006, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon in 2009, and Ghana in 2017.

Other countries in the region have shown interest in the past by attending GGC meetings and seminars but have not followed through on their interest.

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, the immediate past Chairman of the Assembly of Heads of State of the Commission, and President TeodoroObiangNguemaMbasogo attended the meeting. Other Heads of State were represented by foreign ministers.


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