Reimagining regional cooperation as a springboard for curbing piracy off the coast of Nigeria
Author: Kalu Kingsley Anele
Affiliations: LLB, (IMSU) LLM, (Unilag), PhD (KMOU), Lecturer, Cultural Heritage Preservation Research Institute, Pusan National University
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 9 Issue 2, p. 33 – 70
Nigerian waters remain risky for navigation. Despite efforts by the Nigerian government to suppress piracy off its coast, little progress has been made. Moreover, Nigeria is ill-equipped, ill-prepared and lacks effective enforcement of the extant piracy legal regime due to an inefficient institutional framework to combat piracy suo motu. This paper suggests the adoption of the regional cooperation mechanism to curb piracy in Nigeria, given the number of piracy incidents off its coast and the fact that the coast extends to the waters of neighbouring countries. Additionally, Nigerian piracy affects the navigational and geostrategic importance of the Gulf of Guinea to the global energy supply and international trade, and it implicates regional trade agreements in Africa. The research methodology is a dialectical analysis of data, legal instruments, and scholarly publications. Also, this research uses the application of anti-piracy regional cooperation agendas in other piracy hotspots to suggest the adoption of regional cooperation to suppress Nigerian piracy. The results reveal that attempts to curb piracy in Nigeria have been futile because the country lacks the political will to eliminate the causes of piracy. Since Nigerian piracy has a regional effect, regional cooperation would be apt to suppress this crime. Legal instruments, soft laws, regional agreements and international maritime organisations promote regional cooperation in combating piracy. Consequently, the paper explores factors that bolster and sustain regional cooperation as a means of repressing piracy off the Nigerian coast.