Navy Sidelines Annual Chief’s Conference To Appraise Emerging Maritime Security Challenges
IN a bid to effectively tackle the emerging security threats in the maritime environment, the leadership of the Nigerian Navy has decided not to hold the yearly Chief of Naval Staff Annual Conference (CONSAC), but retreat to look inwards to formulate appropriate solutions suitable for the country’s peculiar concerns.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ekwe Ibas, made this known at a press conference in Abuja.
He told journalist that the traditional challenges have given way to more sophisticated and multifaceted criminalities that require adequate attention.
The CNS, represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans (CoPP), Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, said the annual conference, usually composed of large and mixed audiences, “which often precluded the discussion of some internal matters that are equally relevant to the growth of Nigerian Navy,” but the decision to instead hold a retreat was to create “ a forum for robust introspective discussions on the state of the Nigerian Navy, with a view to evolving sustainable strategies for mitigation of identified challenges towards greater operational effectiveness.
He stated that the traditional challenges now in the maritime domain of the country, such as smuggling, piracy, illegal unreported and unregulated fishing and illegal bunkering have now given way to local and international connections in areas of crude oil theft, drug trafficking, gun running, illegal immigration and terrorism.
These new challenges in the country’s maritime environment and the entire Gulf of Guinea, according to him, “are assuming very fluid and complex dimensions.
“Accordingly, it has been decided that in place of the CONSAC this year, the Nigerian Navy would hold a retreat.”
He listed other emerging challenges to include “pressure from climate change, natural disasters and maritime pollution, which have negative implications for our nation’s maritime security interests, economy and ultimately national development.”
The Nigerian Navy, he added, has been making efforts towards mitigating these challenges, which keep evolving in different modes and tactics.
Olutoyin also said the retreat theme, ‘Nigerian Navy and Emerging Maritime Security Challenges,’ was chosen with the aim to have papers presented that would focus on the attitude of the major driving force needed to accomplish the task, the issue of change management and the need for improved inter-agency cooperation for maritime security.