PROJECT TOPIC: Nigeria’s role in maritime security in the Bight of Benin; Issues and challenges 2015-2020

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Chapter one


1.1Background of study

Maritime Security is one of the latest buzzwords of worldwide relations. Essential actors in maritime policy, ocean governance and global security have in the previous decade started out to include maritime safety in their mandate or reframed their work in such terms. In 2014 the United Kingdom, the European Union as well as the African Union (AU) have launched ambitious maritime security strategies. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) included maritime security as one of its objectives in its 2011 Alliance Maritime Strategy. The U.S. pioneered this development when launching a national Maritime Security Policy in 2004. Also, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the International Maritime Organization included maritime security in their list of tasks. As reflected in the U.S. policy, the concept of ‘maritime security’ gained initial salience after the terrorist attacks of September 11th and the associated fears over the spread of maritime terrorism. If maritime terrorism has largely remained a virtual threat (Murphy 2010), the breakthrough for maritime security came with therise of piracy off the coast of Somalia between 2008 and 2011. The dangers of piracy for international trade brought the maritime dimension of security to the global consciousness and lifted it high on policy agendas.

Accordingly, the African Union (AU) has set up the Peace Commission to work with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to pursue peace and security in Africa through regional integration. However, one area that continues to draw international attention and concern is the insecurity in the African maritime environment. Africa depends heavily on the sea for food, trade particularly imports and for industrial resources which when exported generate much needed foreign exchange revenue.  A case in point of insecurity in the maritime environment is the piracy in the Bight of Benin, which has made the area the most dangerous in the World.

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