France and Nigeria have recently joined forces in a collaborative effort to tackle the persistent issues of piracy and trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea. This strategic partnership aims to enhance maritime security in the region and protect the interests of both nations.
In a show of strength, the French carrier Mistral, accompanied by five Nigerian navy ships, embarked on a four-month mission to safeguard the Gulf of Guinea from illicit activities. The Mistral, a naval vessel continuously deployed by the French since 1990, serves as a vital asset in combating maritime threats.
Captain Olivier Roussille, Commander of the Mistral, highlighted the importance of the mission, stating, “The heart of our mission is maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, where France has both interests and strong partners, including Nigeria.” The collaboration between France and Nigeria signifies their shared commitment to maintaining stability and ensuring the safety of the region’s waters.
For the Nigerian Navy, these joint naval exercises align with their dedication to the Yaoundé Protocol. Signed in 2013 by 25 West and Central African governments, as well as regional blocs ECOWAS and ECCAS, the protocol was designed to effectively address illicit activities in the Gulf of Guinea. Over the past decade, the implementation of the protocol has resulted in a notable reduction in piracy and armed robbery incidents.
Despite these achievements, Nigeria continues to face security threats such as crude oil theft and unlawful oil bunkering. To counter these challenges, the Nigerian Navy emphasizes the necessity of ongoing joint drills to combat piracy and maintain a secure maritime environment.
The collaborative efforts of France and Nigeria in this joint operation signify a significant step forward in the fight against piracy and trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea. By combining their resources, expertise, and strong partnership, the two nations aim to further improve maritime security and protect the economic interests of the region.