Exited by the commitment and determination exhibited by the leaders from the leaders that attended the just concluded summit of Heads of States and Governments of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC), President Goodluck Jonathan has declared the issue of piracy will soon be a thing of the past.
Fielding questions on the sidelines of the summit in Yaounde, Cameroon, President Jonathan said the leaders from the two sub-regions have agreed to expand cooperation to check piracy which they also agreed has been hampering the economic activities of the regions.
He said, “The key thing about this conference is the issue of piracy and armed robbery in our coastal waters of which of course you know we have quite a number of attacks in Nigeria because of the volume of oil industry activities and the trade being a very big country.
“The only way we can contain it is for the countries within the Central African Region and West African Region to come together. Already, Nigeria and Benin have been partnering but we need to expand across the coast, the West African Coast and the Central African Coast. So this is the beginning of the end of these excesses of piracy, so we are quite pleased with the conference”.
Cameroon Minister of External Relations, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo who read the communiqué at the end of the summit said the member states of the three blocs (ECOWAS, ECCAS and GGC)have agreed on a coalition for a multi-lateral assistance amongst all the 25 members. The agreements are:
“Harmonization of members for information sharing on security issues within the Gulf of Guinea and constant convening of conferences on maritime security.
“Joint cooperation by military of the three blocs (ECOWAS, ECCAS and GGC) to patrol and secure their borders.
“They agreed to put up a mechanism for the three blocs ((ECOWAS, ECCAS and GGC) to work together for strategic activities to check piracy.
“They agreed to put in place structures that will enable the military personnel of the three blocs (ECOWAS, ECCAS and GGC) to work together with each bloc as well as individual countries”.