A defence expert, Group Captain Sadeeq Shehu (retired)
A defence expert, Group Captain Sadeeq Shehu (retired) has asked the Federal Government to partner other African countries in tackling maritime insecurity in the continent.
He made the call on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, three days after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the African Continental Free Trade agreement (AfCFTA).
Shehu noted that since 90 percent of trade is done via maritime, the nation should tighten its security around its water to prevent terrorists from taking advantage of the situation.
“If you don’t have security in your ports, that is going to discourage trade. That will make the trade even more expensive because of the insurance in the maritime industry. If you are saying you are going to the Gulf of Guinea, your premium is going to be higher.
“They believe that there is a higher probability that either piracy or contamination of containers is higher in those areas. So African countries, particularly Nigeria have to work on transport security, transport on roads. 90 percent (of these goods) go by maritime. Of course, there are goods that go by road,” he said.
Speaking on the AfCFTA, Shehu believes that the move would boost continental trade among African countries and beyond and also turn around the economic fortunes of countries.
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“The African Continental Free Trade Agreement is a Lexus between global or continental trade, human insecurity and also climate change,” he said.
The agreement which has now been signed by 54 of 55 countries is expected to be officially launched later today in what the AU commission Chairman Moussa Faki has said would be a “historic” moment.
It has a goal of creating a single market – the African Continental Free Trade Area, followed by free movement and a single-currency union.
The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.
Member states are required to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.