The European Union (E.U) has donated an array of security hardware including 30 rigid-hull inflatable boats and forensic equipment to the Economic Community of West African States to tackle maritime crime and other security challenges in West Africa.
This was disclosed at a high-level maritime security seminar convened by ECOWAS in Abuja, on Monday, under the framework of the European Union-funded Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security project.
The equipment, estimated at €5 million, was expected to help security agencies in Twelve coastal ECOWAS states in combating crime and criminality.
The beneficiaries include Nigeria, Benin, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo.
The Head of ECOWAS’ Regional Security Division, Col. Abdourahmane Dieng, observed that maritime insecurity had long been one of the most persistent and intractable threats to maritime communities and economic prosperity in West Africa.
According to him, turning the tide against maritime insecurity is a collaborative effort that no single country or region can tackle alone.
“For this reason, ECOWAS, in conjunction with the Economic Community of Central African States formulated the Yaoundé Code of Conduct as a foundation for broad-based regional maritime security along the entire Gulf of Guinea” he said.
The boats and equipment, which are expected to significantly enhance the capacity of beneficiary countries to enforce the rule of law in their territorial waters and adjoining exclusive economic zones, will be supplied by 2024.
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