EU to invest on maritime security

It said that Semenitari told the EU delegation that the region was faced with numerous challenges which the commission was keen to address through partnerships.

Ibim Semenitari

This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the Head of Corporate Affairs Department, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

It stated that the Head of the EU delegation, Mr Philippe Peyredieu, said this when he led an EU delegation to visit Mrs Ibim Semenitari, the Acting Managing Director of NDDC.

The statement quoted Peyredieu as having said that EU was particularly worried with current security situation in the Niger Delta.

``The EU is building a platform that would enable experts to address the challenges of maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea and specifically, in the Niger Delta.

``Peace and security in the Nigerian environment affects other countries in very significant ways, and as such, NDDC is in a vintage position to drive development in the region.

``Most of the tax and oil-related activities are done in and around the Niger Delta which makes it necessary for us to look at the security challenges that may hinder such activities.

``The EU will invest in a multi-million naira programme that would focus on maritime security in the region.

``This is because the Niger Delta is critical and strategic for not only Nigeria; but the West African sub-region”, Peyredieu was quoted to have said in the statement.

Peyredieu said the union would not be able to achieve its plans without support and collaboration of relevant stakeholders in the region.

He said that plans for the programme would be concluded after a stakeholders meeting scheduled to hold in Abuja on June 25.

He said legal issues concerning arrest and prosecution would also be addressed at the meeting to facilitate necessary reforms.

``The idea is to make it easier to prosecute and enhance the process of evidence and intelligence gathering”, the statement quoted Peyredieu.

The statement also quoted Semenitari, the Acting Managing Director, as saying that the Niger Delta was home to one of the world’s largest wetlands and Africa’s largest delta.

``The EU programme planned for 2017 is very important to us because we are beginning to reach out to the communities to make inputs for next year’s budget.

``There are lots of benefits that could be derived from the region – not just in oil, but on wetland and wealth in our water.

``So, it is very important and strategic for us to ensure that we begin to firm up security measures in the region”, the statement quoted Semenitari to have said.

It added that the commission was delighted to work with EU on maritime security, especially as NDDC was responsible to drive development of the area.

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