The ECOWAS Parliament began a five-day meeting toward implementing the sub-region`s strategy in tackling piracy in Gulf of Guinea on Tuesday in Lagos .
The meeting with the theme: “Maritime Security and the Fight Against Piracy: the Role of ECOWAS Parliament” attracted parliamentarians from member states
The Speaker of the Parliament, Moustapha Cisse`Lo, said the continued threats posed by the activities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea required prompt action by the sub-regional group.
The speaker said that ECOWAS recently adopted the “ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy (EIMS) and the 2012 Yaounde Declaration of the Heads of States and Governments of Central and West African States”.
He said that the meeting of the parliament in Lagos was meant to identify ways of implementing the core components of the strategy for maritime safety in ECOWAS states.
“The essence of this meeting is to recommend how the ECOWAS maritime safety strategy can be implemented by the executives.
“Security in the Gulf of Guinea is a big challenge to the region and we have the responsibility as the people’s representatives to discuss this challenge with a view to finding solutions.
“Whatever recommendations we come up with at the end of the meeting would be subject to adoption by the Heads of Governments.
“We are committed to maritime safety and development in the region and this meeting is a demonstration of that commitment, “ the News Agency of Nigeria quotes Moustapha Cisse`Lo as saying.
Also speaking, Dakuku Peterside, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, commended the parliamentarians for holding the meeting.
He said maritime crimes like piracy, armed robbery, trafficking of humans, drugs and psychotrophic substances in the Gulf of Guinea had seriously affected maritime trade in the sub-region.
Mr. Peterside called for the concerted efforts of all stakeholders in tackling the menace in order to develop maritime trade in the region.
The Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, said that the state had been constantly affected by maritime crimes, being a coastal state.
Represented by Majority Leader of the house, Jimoh Wahab, Mr. Obasa said that the state would partner stakeholders in tackling the menace.