Vice Admiral Il Ibrahim—Nigerian Navy
The dawn of the 21st century witnessed significant changes in global security dynamics that led to the emergence of numerous security challenges and redefined maritime expedition and policing capabilities of navies worldwide. In addition, the post-Cold War era has demonstrated the increasing need for multinational cooperative maritime strategies. This option has become more obvious in the face of the global economic meltdown with dwindling funds for navies to develop requisite capabilities to deal with emerging transnational nature of maritime threats. Such threats-which include maritime terrorism, the resurgence of piracy on the high seas, narcotics and human trafficking-with their increasing sophistication have further necessitated the need for increased cooperation among maritime security stakeholders.
It is pertinent to state that the Nigerian Navy is not immune to the current geostrategic dynamics and the attendant consequences of the global economic meltdown. Nonetheless, efforts are ongoing toward effective maintenance of existing platforms, while projecting for phased acquisition of additional patrol boats and offshore patrol vessels. Our navy's commitment to subregional maritime security, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, is further underlined by its participation in the Africa Partnership Station mission and closer operational relationship with navies of the area under the auspices of the Sea Power for Africa Symposium.
Locally, operational cooperation with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and other maritime-related stakeholders has allowed for synergy of effort, economy of resources, and enhanced efficiency. Similarly, our recognition of the importance of maritime domain awareness (MDA) has also manifested itself in the close collaboration with the U.S. Navy toward developing requisite capabilities for enhanced maritime security of the global commons.
In contemporary and futuristic terms, the maritime security challenges around the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Guinea, and elsewhere point to the global imperative of enhancing real-time MDA capability beyond the littorals and exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Accordingly, the Nigerian Navy has focused on the enhancement of maritime domain awareness, response capabilities, and enforcement of extant laws. This enhances security of our EEZ and information sharing in consonance with the nation's foreign policy thrust. These efforts confer on Nigeria's maritime environment and the Gulf of Guinea the status of a Zone of Peace conducive to economic activities.
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