ECOWAS chiefs agree on anti-piracy measures

16:33 09/10/2013 Abuja - Chiefs of the Naval Staff of the four countries in the Gulf of Guinea maritime security architecture have agreed on the modalities to combat piracy and other forms of organized crime in the zone.

The agreement follows a two day-meeting of the naval chiefs of Benin, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.

The Chairman of the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) Committee of Chiefs of Defense Staff, General Soumaila Bakayoko, who announced the agreement, described it as “an important and courageous commitment” in combating the maritime security challenges in the area.

“After the work of these two days, I note with satisfaction, the strong will of the naval chiefs to boost the maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

In an earlier speech, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Salamatu Hussaini stressed the need for ensuring security in the Gulf of Guinea maritime domain.

She stated that the outcome of the meeting would further add to the recorded positive steps taken to combat threats, increasing social, economic and human security, which is panacea for a sustainable development in the region.

The meeting delegated Benin as the host country for the Maritime Multinational Coordination Center (MMCC) to serve as the operational hub for the zone and urged the authorities of the country to make all necessary infrastructure for hosting the centre available within three months.

Furthermore, the meeting charged the ECOWAS Commission with the task of collating necessary material for the operation of the centre and facilitating effective liaison with international partners for necessary commitments.

The recommendations of the meeting will be reviewed at the next meeting of the Committee of Chiefs of Defense Staff and forwarded to the Mediation and Security Council and subsequently to the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government for adoption.

– CAJ News