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Influx of illicit arms encouraging piracy in the Gulf of Guinea – Agwai



Influx of illicit arms encouraging piracy in the Gulf of Guinea – Agwai

Retired Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, snd others at the launch of a Counter-Piracy and Response project in the Gulf of Guinea, in Abuja

… NIMASA donates relief materials to IDPs, security equipment to govt. in Niger***

Former Chief of Defence Staff, retired Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, says the influx of small arms and light weapons has heightened piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

“Piracy has become increasingly sophisticated with the influx of small arms and light weapons in the hands of pirates and criminals on waterways and high on seas,” he said on Tuesday in Abuja.

Also read: Gulf of Guinea: Nigeria’s Peace-keeping Centre, UNDP Launch Counter-Piracy Project

Agwai was speaking at the launch of a Counter-Piracy and Response project in the Gulf of Guinea.

The launch was organised by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in collaboration with the UNDP.

Agwai is the Chairman, of the Board of Trustees of MLAILPKC.

He noted that the maritime domain had remained a critical route for human interactions and trade and brought about human interconnectivity and relationships between nations.

According to him, in contemporary times, sea interactions have brought about global economic prosperity and increased the relationship between nations and cultures.

“The maritime domain accounts for the movement of most global goods and services through different sea passages like the China Sea, the Strait of Singapore, the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea amongst others.

“Some of these sea passages have, however, continued to experience hijacks, kidnappings, robbery and piracy,’’ he said.

Agwai said also that reported cases of piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea had continued to threaten the ease of moving goods and services.

He added that incessant pirate attacks had also resulted in increased maritime insurance costs, and higher prices of goods and merchandise, including oil and gas resources.

There had also been the growth of regional illegal markets in clandestine goods and services, he noted.

According to him, costs associated with piracy and other crimes are ultimately passed on and borne by final consumers.

“The Gulf of Guinea which extends from Senegal in the west to Angola in the South remains a very critical socio-economic nexus between the Americas, Middle East and Asia.

“I cannot but state that the launching of the project would herald the Centre as a regional hub for Anti-Piracy Training toward mitigating the negative impacts of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the Commandant, MLALIPKC, Maj.-Gen. Auwal Fagge noted that piracy in the Gulf of Guinea had been discouraging foreign investment.

He said that weakened control of offshore areas had slowed the deployment of the blue economy and encouraged illicit freight and illegal fishing.

He said the Centre had embarked on a research project with a review to proffering solutions to piracy in the region.

He thanked the government of Japan, the UNDP and other partners for the launch of the project and for their continuous support.

The Director of Peacekeeping Operations, Naval Headquarters, Rear Adm. Abdulmajid Ibrahim, who also spoke at the launch, said the Nigerian Navy had continued to evolve strategies to tackle piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Ibrahim said that the navy had been carrying out a series of capacity development, especially with the acquisition of a new ship.

The rate of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is believed to be one of the highest in the world.

According to the European Union Maritime Safety Agency’s factsheet, an estimated 1,500 fishing vessels, tankers and cargo ships navigate the Gulf of Guinea daily.

The International Maritime Organisation states that the number and severity of attacks on vessels by pirates in the region have a significant impact on global trade and the safety of seafarers in the region.

In another development, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Tuesday donated relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and security equipment to the Niger government.

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, flagged off the distribution of the items which included maize, rice, millet, tomato, oil, spaghetti, beans, blankets and sewing machines for IDPs in Minna.

Jamoh, represented by Ibrahim Sudan, Deputy Director, Maritime Labour in the agency, said other items were security equipment such as motorcycles, boots,  walkie-talkie radio, bulletproof jackets and handcuffs, among others.

Earlier, the state’s Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA) in collaboration with NIMASA also organised a security sensitisation workshop for security personnel with the theme: “Legal and Non-legal Weapons of Self Defence”.

In his opening remarks, Alhaji Ahmed Inga, Director-General of NSEMA, said that the workshop was for both agencies to contribute their quota to the current security challenges in the state and the country at large.

Inga, represented by Malam Garba Salihu, Director, Relief and Rehabilitation in NSEMA, added that the workshop was to help enlighten security personnel to discharge their duties effectively.

The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said the essence of the workshop was to sensitise security personnel in states affected by security challenges and support them with response gadgets.

Jamoh said that the agency was concerned about the security challenges across the country, adding that the safety of maritime industry security starts from the land.

The resource person, Malam Dantani Sallau, who made a presentation on “Three Essential Elements of Ideal Community Crime Management and Policing”, emphasised the need for all hands to be on deck in addressing the menace of insecurity.

He noted that addressing insecurity and reducing crimes in any society needed a multi-structural approach, adding that criminals were now focusing on radicalisation and indoctrination of young people’s views to achieve their inordinate ambitions.

He called on parents to wake up to their responsibilities of bringing up their wards to become responsible citizens as well as the government to come up with programmes and policies to engage young people in useful ventures.

Also, Mr Abdullahi Jabi, the guest speaker, presented a paper on: “Identifying Future Crime”, calling on the government to look at the potentiality of the youths on a demographic level.

He said further that the government ought to see how the changes in a democratic setting are utilised in terms of policy formulation, rights education for children and employment to reduce crimes and violence in communities.




Yaya Dillo: Implication of Assassination for Chad and its ruling elite!



Days after the killing of Chad opposition politician Yaya Dillo, in disputed circumstances, many analysts in the conflict-racked Central African nation have expressed concerns about how his allies, powerful relatives, and rivals will react.

The Chadian government has said that Dillo was killed in an exchange of gunfire with security forces on Feb. 28. It said members of his Socialist Party Without Borders had earlier attacked the internal security agency where several people were killed.

Following this, heavy gunfire was heard in Chad’s capital N’Djamena near the headquarters of Dillo’s Socialist Party Without Borders.

The violence comes amid tensions ahead of a presidential election set for May and June that could return the Central African state to constitutional rule three years after military authorities seized power.

*Yaya Dillo

Accounts of the incident given by the government and the party have differed.

A government statement said the agency was attacked by representatives of the opposition party, led by its leader Yaya Dillo, resulting in several deaths.

Detailing a separate incident, the government said a member of the party, Ahmed Torabi, had carried out an assassination attempt against the president of the Supreme Court, Samir Adam Annour. Torabi was arrested, it said.

The opposition party’s general secretary told reporters that the deaths near the security agency occurred when soldiers opened fire at a group of party members.

But the FACT opposition rebel group and the CNRD opposition party have called it an assassination and analysts say the circumstances are unclear.

The capital N’Djamena was quiet two days after the death, though residents said security forces were deployed in key locations and soldiers searched for weapons at checkpoints overnight. Access to the internet has been cut.

The May and June votes were meant to draw a line under three years of military rule by transitional President Mahamat Idriss Deby, who seized power after his long-ruling father was killed in clashes with rebels in April 2021.

Deby junior, who is standing in the vote, has since faced street protests against delays in the elections and has had to bring some members of the opposition into his government, under moves to ease tensions brokered by regional leaders.

The United Nations and regional leaders have called for calm and urged Chadians to focus on the vote.

The violence this week has further exposed the complex ethnic and family ties that make up Chadian elite politics.

Deby senior had concentrated military and political power around his Zaghawa ethnic group.

His son has struggled to maintain that unity, and divisions have emerged, with some family members openly opposing him.

Dillo, the opposition leader who was killed, is from the same clan – believed to be a cousin or nephew of Deby junior – and his death has triggered anger within the family.

Exacerbating these concerns, the transitional president’s uncle, Gen. Saleh Deby Itno, last week defected to Dillo’s party and was reportedly subsequently detained.

Roland Marchal, a Chad expert at the Centre for International Studies (CERI) at Sciences Po Paris, said the fact that Saleh joined Dillo’s party was a signal that some in the extended family were extremely unhappy.

“The killing of Dillo is a sign of weakness. Dillo is not very popular in Chad so why take such extreme measures against him?” Marchal said.

Security sources say Deby Junior has sought to stamp his authority on the security forces, including by creating new units loyal to him.

As Islamist militancy spread across much of West Africa during the last decade, Chad has established itself as a key partner for Western and regional militaries.

Former colonial power France still has 1,000 troops and warplanes based there, even as it has been forced to withdraw from Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso due to rising anti-French sentiment in the region.

The United States has had drones based in Chad. N’Djamena also hosts the headquarters of the regional counter-terrorism task force.

Positioned between Libya and Sudan, Chad’s remote borderlands are often used by smugglers and armed groups operating in regional conflicts.

Most recently, United Nations experts said that Chad has been used as a route to supply crucial weapons from the United Arab Emirates to the RSF, the militia that has been fighting the Sudanese army since April 2023.

However, the UAE has denied this. Chad hosts nearly 700,000 Sudanese refugees from this conflict.

With the elections in Chad just around the corner and the killing of Dillo coming at this time, analysts say the African continent may be on the verge of witnessing the unveiling of yet another theatre of unrest. 

  • NANFeatures
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Rice Wahala: How Smugglers Nearly Killed Me, Customs Officer Tells Court



An Assistant Superintendent of Customs, Mr Amos Ekundayo told a Federal High Court in Ibadan how a gang of rice smugglers attempted to kill him after shooting him in the head.

Ekundayo was led in evidence by Mr Michael Osug, the prosecution in the case filed against two suspected rice smugglers; Waliu Ayodeji and Lateef Odugbemi before Justice E.K. Akpan on Friday.

Ayodeji and Odugbemi were apprehended on May 22 2023 in the Igbo Ora area of Oyo State.

They had pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, unlawful importation of foreign rice, and conspiracy.

“I was one of the customs officers on patrol on May 22, 2023, when we were informed that a gang of smugglers were operating on the Ologbojo-Tapa road which is under the Igbo-ora area.

“On getting there with the other members of the team, I attempted to address the members of the gang.

”However, they told me that the only person who can address them was Sunday Igboho.

Appeal Court Orders ASUU to Resume Work Immediately

“Before I knew what was happening, they shot me in the head and my back.,” Ekunday said.

He showed the court the three different spots where he was allegedly shot.

The witness also stated that he was taken to the Lago State University Teaching Hospital for medical attention.

He added that he spent eight days in the hospital before being discharged.

“During our investigation, we found out that the two defendants and others, now at large had smuggled 144 bags of per boiled rice from Cotonou, Benin Republic,” the customs officer said.

In his testimony, Mr Ganiu Salami, an informant to the Nigeria Customs Service said that he knew the two defendants as smugglers and that he informed the customs operatives about the May 22 2023 event.

“After the customs operatives accosted the gang of smugglers, the second defendant, Odugbemi pointed his gun and shot at Ekunday.

He tendered the medical report issued by the hospital in respect of the shooting before the court as an exhibit.

However, counsel to the first and second defendants, Mr. A.A. Okelola and Mr Adewale Ishola prayed the court not to admit the medical report tendered by Salami on the ground that it was not a certified true copy.

In their separate arguments, Okelola and Ishola said that the medical report was a mere coloured photocopy document.

In a counter-argument, the prosecution counsel, Osug said that the document that was tendered was original.

Finally, the court admitted the document as an exhibit against the defendants.

The judge adjourned the matter until March 23 for continuation of trial. 

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UNIPORT: NIMASA Intensifies Capacity Development, Delivers Marine and Transport Technology Building



The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has handed over, two ultra-modern complexes housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology to the Management of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

According to Jamoh, the building which is a donation from NIMASA to the University, was the initiative of the previous leadership of the Agency, but on assumption, as the Director General he saw the need to review and commence the project.

*The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR (3rd right) presenting the keys of the Ultra-Modern Complex housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology donated by NIMASA, to the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Clifford Ofurum, while others look on in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He said, “The initiative dates back to 2012/2013 when the then DG of the Agency decided to build a maritime training institute. The initiative is not peculiar to Uniport but is present in all the six geopolitical zones of the country. Any investment in education is worthwhile.

The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR and others during the presentation of the keys the Ultra-Modern Complex housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology, donated by NIMASA to the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State.

” Research has shown that lack of education is relatively responsible for maritime crimes in the Niger Delta Region. We hope beneficiaries of this Maritime institute will be instrumental in making Nigeria a major maritime nation”, he said.

The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Abraham Georgewill, who was represented by the VC Administration, Prof. Clifford Ofurum thanked NIMASA for selecting Uniport as the location for the Maritime Institute, assuring that the University will provide adequate faculty to ensure courses are accredited and recognized globally.

*The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, OFR (3rd right), Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Clifford Ofurum (4th left) and others during the presentation of the keys the Ultra-Modern Complex housing the Institute of Marine and Transport Technology, donated by NIMASA to the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State.

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