from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – THE Gulf of Guinea states are losing US$1,94 billion annually to piracy and armed robbery at sea.
An additional $1,4 billion is lost in port fees and import tariffs.
A senior United Nations official disclosed the figures told the Security Council as the 15-member organ explored ways to address recent security challenges in West Africa and the Sahel.
“These billions represent lost potential,” said Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“The funds that could otherwise be invested in licit economies and in developing coastal communities-funds that are needed now more than ever in the continuing COVID-19 crisis,” Waly said.
She pointed out that incidents in the Gulf of Guinea account for the majority of kidnappings of seafarers for ransom around the world.
Pirate groups gaining in sophistication and increasingly able to conduct attacks against international vessels in deeper waters are perpetrating the crimes.
Terrorism is also rife in the region.
Cécile Thiombiano Yougbare, public policy analyst, said in 2021, more than 800 civilians were killed in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, in attacks attributed to non-state armed groups.
Other civilians died as a result of abuses attributed to defence and security forces.
“The entire security strategy failed,” Yougbare said.
The Gulf of Guinea is the northeasternmost part of the tropical Atlantic Ocean.
Basin countries are Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe and Togo.
– CAJ News