The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has called for a regional collaboration among security agencies along the Gulf of Guinea to fight security challenges in the region.
He noted that securing the maritime domain in the region had become a challenge and that countries sharing the Gulf had come under severe threats of piracy and narcotics trade.
He indicated that these growing trends had the potential of not only affecting the economic fortunes of member countries but global trade and therefore stressed on the need for effective collaborative by the countries to combat the menace.
The Vice-President who made the call at the close of “Exercise Obangame Express” 2015 at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Accra last Friday, mentioned some of the illegal activities in the region to include, weapon smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing practices.
The nine-day exercise provided African, European and Atlantic partner naval forces the opportunity to work together, refine tactics, and improve co-operation to help the Gulf of Guinea nations deter piracy and other maritime threats.
It also included variety of scenarios for participating forces to test their various skills such as boarding procedures, queries, medical familiarization, air operations, communication drills and regional information sharing.
The Vice-President noted that the high levels of collaborations amongst the participating nations underlined the need for partnership in the region.
“It is for this reason I am calling on the participating navies especially those from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African State (ECCAS) to use this exercise as a foundation to enhance their cooperation to ensure a safe maritime security environment”, he stated.
The Charge d” Affaires of the US Embassy in Accra, Ms Patricia Alsup said the Gulf of Guinea was the life blood for the maritime African Nations as the sea offered the potential to boost the economies of member countries.
The Commander, U.S. Navy 6th Fleet Vice Admiral. James Foggo said he was confident that the forces would be able to work together more effectively to address regional challenges.
“More than that, as we have spent the last two weeks operating together, talking meaningfully with and learning from one another, what we have really done is improve our relationships”, he said.
“Now, when challenges arise, we can respond cohesively, collectively, and effectively, because we know each other, we’ve worked together, and we’ve built trust and friendships.”
Source : Graphic Online