TRANS-BORDER CO-OPERATION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF MARITIME SECURITY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA

TRANS-BORDER CO-OPERATION AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF MARITIME SECURITY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA

ABSTRACT

Trans-border co-operation in the mitigation of maritime insecurity has remained a veritable and time-honoured measure for the control of illicit maritime activities the world over. Essentially, this is because of the trans-boundary character of such criminal activities. The resource-laden Gulf of Guinea region has remained largely under-utilized because of the high incidence of piracy, sea banditry and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing within the maritime domain. This study pursued twofold objectives. First, it investigated the interface between the repressive measures adopted in the Yaoundé Code of Conduct of June 25, 2013 and the rising spate of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. Second, it examined the role of weak institutional and infrastructural capabilities of the Signatories to the Yaoundé Code of Conduct of June 2013 in the control of IUU fishing in the Gulf of Guinea. The study employed the qualitative method of data collection and the qualitative descriptive method of data analysis. The single case ex-post-facto research design was used to demonstrate structural causality in the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. Utilizing the Marxist Political Economy paradigm, the study found that the repressive measures adopted in the Yaoundé Code of Conduct of June 25, 2013 were implicated in the rising spate of piracy and armed robbery at sea within the region. Second, the study concluded that the weak institutional and infrastructural capabilities of the Signatories to the Yaoundé Code of Conduct of 2013 undermined the effective control of IUU fishing in the convention area. Consequently, it recommended that the key stakeholders, especially the Signatories to the Code of Conduct of 2013, ECOWAS, ECCAS, GGC, among others should fashion and implement an all-inclusive security policy that would address the structural and economic disarticulation in these littoral states which accounted for the origin and sustainment of the illicit maritime activities.