Afican Port Managers Allege GoG Security Challenges May Stall AfCFTA Realization
By Ebenezer William
Managers of Nigeria, Kirbi, Lome and Gabon ports have called for continuous improvement in the security design of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) in response to the threats prevalent in the region.
They feared that these security threats are likely to affect the full realisation of the potential benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recent report on piracy revealed that the GoG witnessed an increase in piracy and armed robberies in the first nine months of this year, a slight increase over the incidents recorded in the corresponding period of 2022.
The report revealed that the crew members were kidnapped, taken hostage, injured and assaulted among other violent attacks. The report also stated that the perpetrators successfully boarded 89 per cent of targeted vessels, with most incidents occurring at night.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, disclosed that the leadership of the ports in the region reviewed the security architecture in GoG and the readiness of African ports to implement the AfCFTA.
He said the security challenges in the region have been a cause for concern in the international maritime logistic corridors due to threats posed to the safety of vessels, crew members, and cargo.
Bello-Koko said what is essential is the continuous improvement of the security architecture in response to the threats prevalent in the region. He disclosed that NPA has increased budgetary allocations to address security vulnerabilities in the country’s ports in the last two to three years.
Bello-Koko pointed out the result in some of the modern platforms, security marine crafts and infrastructure being procured for the ports.