A delegation from the ECOWAS Parliament, led by its Speaker His Excellency Hon. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, has paid courtesy calls on President Nana Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House and the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin in his office.
The ECOWAS Parliament delegation, aside the Speaker comprised of the Secretary General , John Azumah and Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe Jnr from Liberia.
The team, in Ghana, was led by Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament and the Member of Parliament for Effutu Constituency
The courtesy call to the Jubilee House was to thank the President Akufo-Addo for personally honoring an invitation to attend the 2021 First Ordinary Session of the Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja and also congratulate Ghana for its election to the United Nations Security Council for the term 2022-2023.
Finally the call was also to inform President Akufo-Addo and Speaker Alban Bagbin that come July and September this year, the ECOWAS Parliament has an interest to hold its Extra Ordinary Session and the Localized Meeting in Ghana.
Hon Afenyo-Markin, in his address at the recent Ordinary Session of the Fifth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja made a good case for Ghana when he told the House in Nigeria that there have been six recorded pirate attacks on ships in Ghanaian waters in 2020 alone.
Afenyo-Markin who led Ghana’s delegation to the regional legislative body noted that: “Piracy is increasingly becoming an emerging threat to Ghana’s maritime security,” the 43-year-old Deputy Majority Leader in Ghana’s legislature told colleague Members of the ECOWAS Parliament sitting in Abuja.”
He said the “Gulf of Guinea has become a hotspot for piracy in recent times,” he said, adding that relative to zero piracy cases in 2019, Ghana recorded six piracy cases in 2020.
In his presentation in Abuja, Afenyo-Markin, who holds a Masters degree in International Politics and Security Studies from the United Kingdom’s University of Bradford, sent signals to the maritime industry that Ghana would not allow pirates to hold the nation’s high seas hostage. In a bid to make the nation’s coast an unattractive destination for pirates, the Government of Ghana, according to him, is equipping the nation’s Navy “to enhance surveillance on the country’s territorial waters.” Additionally, “Ghana will also seek to collaborate more with countries along the Gulf of Guinea to develop coordinated maritime strategies to deal effectively with the rising incidence of piracy.” He, however, did not give specific details on the intended strategies.
The Efutu MP’s comments come weeks after an attack by pirates in late May saw the kidnapping of at least five crew members on a fishing vessel approximately 65 NM (120 km/75 miles) south of the seaport of Tema. Those kidnapped included a Korean, a Russian, and three Chinese nationals. No ransom demand or casualties were immediately reported.
The Country Report presented by Afenyo-Markin in Abuja also highlights measures Ghana is taking to deal with other security concerns like terrorism and attacks by nomadic herders.
In his words, “The recent surge in terrorist activities in neighbouring and other countries in the sub-region places the country at risk of [a] terrorist attack.” He told the House that “in the past year, the Ministry of National Security stepped up its counter-terrorism efforts to avert an occurrence of a terrorist attack particularly at the Northern frontier which borders Burkina Faso.”