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Ndem canvasses joint patrol to check piracy in Gulf of Guinea

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Former Cross River State repertoire on militants, Etubom Bassey Ndem, yesterday, canvassed joint patrol of the Gulf of Guinea by West African countries due to rising crimes in the area.

He said since former militants pulled out of the Gulf of Guinea, the area has not been the same again, as other groups have infiltrated the area and causing havoc through activities of pirates.

Ndem, who is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said: “The Federal Government should be up and doing. Government promised that it would not only take care of the militants, but there will be increased security presence in the Gulf of Guinea.

“The Gulf of Guinea is an international waterway and Nigeria should protect its area and what takes place outside its territorial waters. Nigeria should respond to whatever takes place outside its territorial waters as a joint affair among the countries whose territorial waters border on the Atlantic Ocean in the Gulf of Guinea.

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“No single country can patrol the entire stretch. So each country should be responsible for its part, while a joint patrol should take care of the international waters.”

He argued that the problem at the Gulf of Guinea was so serious that once pirates begin to create another hot spot, it would continue to create negative impression the world and potential investors have about Nigeria and Africa.

On the allegation that former Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) militants have started terrorising the area again, Ndem said: “I don’t think the ex-militants are the criminals who have gone back to their camps. Nature abhors vacuum.”

“As soon as they were demobilised and amnesty granted, they warned that there were other groups outside Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, which had been operating in the area, but due to their presence, such groups had kept their activities outside the areas.”

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He added that since they have been demobilised and have moved to land without serious patrol of the water ways and creeks, such elements would naturally infiltrate the area, insisting: “We have started getting evidence that that was already happening and that was why right from the onset they said the security challenges remain Federal Government’s responsibility.

“It is the Federal Government that has the power and resources to rehabilitate and reintegrate militants and stop further incursion of other groups into the area that has been demilitarised. So, government should live up to its responsibility.

“Security challenges are in the Northeast, Southwest and South-South and every part of the country. Criminals will continue to unleash terror on the entire country if the Federal Government fails to act fast.”

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