Diezani Allison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, says the security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea requires the combined efforts of all countries in the region
| By Chinwe Okafor | Sep. 9, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE federal government has lamented the rising insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea as a result of the activities of kidnappers, pirates and crude oil thieves. Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, who was speaking at the First Nigerian Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel Africa Conference in Lagos, said the development has resulted in many cases of hijacking, unauthorised vessel boarding and kidnapping in the region.
The Gulf of Guinea, which consists of 15 countries with oil production in excess of 5.4 million barrels per day in 2012, accounts for an equivalent of about 27 per cent of oil supply to the European Union and 29 per cent of total petroleum consumption in the United States in 2011.
Alison-Madueke, who described the situation as unacceptable, said crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Gulf has become a major source of concern to the federal government, with the US Naval Intelligence Report indicating about nine hijacking incidents, 55 unauthorised vessel boarding, several kidnappings and vessels fired upon in the first half of this year.
The minister, who was represented at the occasion by Andrew Yakubu, group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said the significance of maritime security to the region was necessary to maintain the flow of revenue from oil and gas. She said that the current high insecurity had negatively impacted on the region’s broader economic development, adding that maritime resources such as fish, aquaculture and the ecosystem which directly contribute to the livelihood of many Africans had been affected.
With Nigeria and Angola accounting for 47 and 34 percent of the total oil supply production in the Gulf respectively, the minister said it was extremely important that countries in the region and their allies collaborate to police the sea lanes, noting that disruptions in crude oil supplies not only affected countries such as Nigeria but ultimately negatively impacted on the global economy.
Alison-Madueke, therefore, called for increased domestic efforts in addressing the menace, pointing out that addressing illegal crude oil bunkering was a multidimensional challenge that required a multilateral approach to succeed. She noted that resurrecting the Gulf’s security protocol as well as collaboration between Nigeria and other countries in the region would go a long way to help address the maritime security issues.
The conference, which had as its theme: Delivering Maritime Security to Africa, was attended by Navy formations from countries in the Gulf with presentations from local and international resource persons.