To support the fight against maritime crime and other security challenges in the region, the European Union (EU) has donated security hardware valued at €5million (euros), including 30 rigid-hull inflatable boats and forensic equipment to Nigeria and other countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
According to the New Telegraph, the beneficiaries are Nigeria, Benin, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea- Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo.
This was announced and discussed at a high-level maritime security seminar convened by ECOWAS in Abuja earlier this week, under the framework of the EU-funded Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) project. It was stated that the equipment would be supplied by 2024.
EU Senior Coordinator for the Gulf of Guinea, Amb Nicolas Martinez, explained that the EU was a committed partner to the Gulf of Guinea region and would continue to provide extensive and targeted assistance to strengthen the critical features of the Yaoundé security architecture while cementing the long-standing relationship between ECOWAS and the EU.
Also this week, the first-ever joint event on strengthening Nigeria and the EU’s cooperation on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea was held yesterday (Thur 7th April). , The event, held at Western Naval Command, Apapa, Lagos as reported in Vanguard was to improve operational coordination and capacity building exercises.
The European Union expressed its determination to partner with Nigeria to tackle maritime threats such as armed robbery at sea, and kidnappings of sea fearers, among others, in the Gulf of Guinea.