Nigeria’s annual revenue losses has been estimated to be over N7 trillion as a result of leakages in revenue generation and insecurity in the water ways, among others, Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, said.
The legislator, who was represented at the Deputy Minority leader, Chukwuka Onyeama at a two- day public hearing on ” A bill for an act to amend the maritime operations coordinating board act, (cap. M4 LFN 2004,” organized by the joint committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration & Navy, said: “Between January and March 2016, several attacks were reported off Nigeria’s coast. This was said to involve pirates stealing cargoes of crude oil and petroleum products. Reports had it that, no fewer than 44 ship crew members were abducted.
“In the first half of this year, about over 20 commercial vessels were attacked in Nigerian waters. The increasing level of attacks and violence in the Gulf of Guinea have given Nigeria and other countries in the sub-region very damaging and negative image in addition to an estimated monthly loss of $1.5 billion to the country.
“As I said recently, prevalence of insecurity in our waters resulted in the loss of $1.3 billion annually to illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in West Africa alone yearly. We must tighten the legal and regulatory framework to stop these losses. The only way to promote intra- African trade in our water ways is to ensure safety and security of navigation in our waters.”
He said it was disturbing that pirate attacks in West Africa “are said to be occurring in our territorial waters, terminals and harbors and not in the high seas which effectively stopped intervention by international naval forces.”
The Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, Hon. Abdulsamad Dasuki also revealed that while the incidence of sea piracy was reducing in other territorial waters due to effective coordination, it was increasing in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.
He said it was worrisome that given the repeated warnings by the International Bureau (IMB) that attacks by sea -borne bandits off the West African Coast were in the rise in Nigeria