1.1 Context of the Study
Maritime Security is the grouping of preventive and responsive actions to guard the maritime sphere against threats and intended illegitimate acts (Feldt, Roeli, and Thiele, 2013). The maritime domain’s worth for states can be designated in terms of its natural assets, its importance for transport and trade, power forecast and defence, and the maritime atmosphere’s intrinsic value (Lundqvist, 2013). Thus, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the sea (UNCLOS) was established as a basic legal instrument for oceanic affairs as an offer of corollary rights for coastal states to ensure amongst others, sustainable use and defence of the marine environment and to guarantee the security of sea lines of communication (Jesus, 2003).
For the Gulf of Guinea, maritime insecurity has led to regional loss of revenue, limitations on investment and caused an increase in crime rates (2013: 58). According to the report of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) during the first three quarters of 2009, the coast of Nigeria is said to rank as the second most perilous in the world in terms of attacks, with 20 reported. This is more obviously linked to militancy in the Niger Delta with traces of spreading into adjoining countries through organised criminal groups and divergent separatist sects. Given the political raids since 2006 by militants both at sea and in the Niger Delta intended at Nigeria’s hydrocarbon zone, the trend has received considerable awareness, since their net impact has been to cut the state’s oil exports by nearly one-third from 2.2 million barrels per day to about 1.6 million or so today (though, production is on the rise again in the tenuous peace following an amnesty granted to militants in 2009), the events of piracy for mainly lawless motives are somewhat a weird phenomenon (GlobeSec, 2010). While the legitimacy of many grievances cited by various groups in justifying these assaults cannot be denied, there are also distinctive signs that there are organised misconduct, rather than partisan engagement at work as reported in so many instances. This means that Nigerian maritime security has a direct bearing on the state’s capacity to secure its national assets, which is a vital asset for the country (National Security Strategy, 2011). Added to the above, is the security of international assets (strategic, economic and political) which widens the scope of its importance.
These threats, coupled with the inability of the Gulf of Guinea countries to adequately manage their maritime security have led to a call for regional approaches and external support. UNSC Resolutions “2018” of 31 October 2011 and Resolution “2039” of 29 February 2012 laid the groundwork which expresses concern posed by piracy and armed robbery at sea and threats to the security of maritime sea lines of communication. It also emphasises the need for coordinated progress and broad strategy to counter piracy including international assistance to states and regional organizations, as well as instituting information-sharing network between countries (Smith-Windsor and Pavia, 2013).
More recently, African initiatives to encourage wider regional and international approaches to tackle maritime insecurity have taken a new dimension. The meeting of Heads of States of three key regional organisations in the Gulf of Guinea (Economic Community of Central African States), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Gulf of Guinea States (GGC) on 24 and 25 June 2013 at Yaoundé in Cameroon adopted the “Code of Conduct on the Prevention and the Suppression on Acts of Piracy, Armed Robbery against Ships and other Illicit Activities carried out at sea in Central and West Africa” (2013: 6). On the account of these threats of insecurity on Nigerian waters, what value is
Nigerian maritime security given the sensitive nature of Exports, Imports and Offshore facility, and what are the likely challenges that hinder the effective security of this sector from the Nigerian and Global perspectives, since it is not an internal problem alone? There are domestic challenges ranging from Corruption, Ill Equipped Navy and Geography. While at the international level (Regional and Global), the international actors have shown signs of weak responses despite their interests and together with lack of effective coordination with the host Gulf of Guinea states especially Nigeria towards a collective strategy. The outcome of most reports and researches on maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea continue to make references to Nigeria as an international hotspot for illegal activities on sea.
This research work endeavours to explore the importance of Nigerian maritime security. It will then go on to determine the divergent perspectives thwarting Nigeria’s efforts at maintaining effective maritime security.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This exposition addresses the significance and two main complications within the theme of Nigerian Maritime Security. The major significance is why maritime security is relevant to Nigeria? Secondly, what are the constraints that hinder effective maritime security within Nigeria, as a sovereign state? The third question is what are the possible global challenges (regional and international) outside Nigeria that may be a limitation for Nigeria’s effort at securing its shores? Scholars have all cited divergent views and accounts on the persistent security challenges. However, there exist some gaps that need to be considered owing to uncertainties and inconclusive evidences from literatures reviewed so far.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
To analyse the importance of an effective Nigerian maritime security and the various challenges faced by it.
1.4 Aims of the Study
To explore the rationale for the importance of Nigerian Maritime Security.
To determine the domestic views that may thwart Nigeria’s quest for an effective maritime security.
To determine also, the international aspect (Regional and International) constraints that may hinder Nigerian maritime security.
1.5 Methodology of Data Collection
This work is an ample exploration undertaken based on a survey of evidences on the fundamental theme of this research. The first task was to review existing literatures that focuses on the importance and challenges mentioned in the aims of this dissertation. Consequently, it is a detailed analysis of specific motives on which Nigeria’s challenges must have been centred upon. Enormous parts of my secondary sources were obtained from three libraries within the West Midlands; Fredrick Lanchester Library of Coventry University, University of Birmingham Library and Warwick University Library. In these libraries a few number of books, book chapters and a notable number of journal articles were consulted all from the assortment of the above libraries. Voluminous articles were also obtained from surrogate sources such as Wiley Online and JSTOR Libraries, including informed view from internet sources like Google Scholar. There were also a few collections of past and recent reports and issues of International Crisis Group, Piracy daily, Maritime Security Review and International Fleet Review which has proved very effective.
I also consulted the website of the Nigerian Navy and National Defence College (NDC) Nigeria, which hosts maritime researchers like Dr. Freedom Onuoha who has been a voice on International and local Maritime security issues. The above sources were complimented with a few international and national dailies.
Also, the use of yearly and quarterly reports of the World Bank, Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House London), US Energy Information Administration and the National Bureau of Statistics in Nigeria has substantiated on the diverse economic indexes and evidences on the significance and challenges to Nigerian maritime security.
In standpoints of making logic of these resources, I offered a detailed overview of the significance of Nigeria’s maritime security upon which it has become imperative for National security. Subsequently, I analysed the varying potential perspectives that constitutes a challenge towards an effective maritime security strategy in Nigeria under different segments.
The final consideration drew a conclusion which envisages the premise and exposition of the way forward and overcoming the aforementioned challenges for Nigeria considering her new role as the leading economy in Africa.