Counter-piracy training in Gulf of Guinea supported by Japan

March 27, 2023

Cross section of Counter Piracy Course Participants attending training


As part of efforts to better equip authorities in neighbouring countries to tackle piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, UNDP Nigeria has continued to facilitate capacity-building of officials through the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Japan-funded project aims to complement regional and national authorities’ efforts to ensure a reduction in the incidence of maritime piracy in the region by consolidating the pilot counter-piracy project implemented by MLAILPKC in 2021. 

The rate of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has been alarming over the past few years.  Research shows that piracy discourages foreign investment, weakens state control of coastal and offshore areas, slows the development of the blue economy, and emboldens illicit trades and illegal fishing. The activities of the pirates remain a serious threat to trade and businesses of the coastal communities in GoG countries, particularly Nigeria. 

In January 2023, 32 officials from a broad range of law enforcement institutions in Nigeria, including the navy, police, army, as well as representatives from ministries, departments and agencies engaged in a week-long maritime rules of engagement course at MLAILPKC that focused on interception and counter-piracy operations. The course, which consolidated and built on two anti-piracy courses, further reinforced the Centre institutional capacity to deliver high-quality courses on counter piracy.

“It is my prayer that the course be sustained and most importantly, participants who had undergone the course and who probably carried out roles in anti-piracy operations be added as observers in subsequent courses. It was a balanced class not just based on theory but experience from practical knowledge,” said Lt. Commander Lewis Asukwo Ukut from the Nigerian Navy.   

As part of building a coordinated response to piracy in the region, in October 2022, 40 representatives from seven GoG countries (Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) benefitted from courses on core principles and practices of combating piracy. The beneficiaries were drawn from the navies, armies, marines, coast guards and relevant government institutions of the GoG member states. The network established among the participants across the GoG member states is expected to enhance an integrated approach to tackle maritime crimes and piracy in the region.

“Before this course, I knew nothing about the modus operandi of the pirates but currently I can speak deeply about it. The experience of Nigerian Navy also teaches us how to deal better with decision-makers regarding equipping the navies with better maritime security,” Commander Simao Capolo Capolo, Angola marines.

UNDP Nigeria continues to strategically partner with the Government of Japan on development projects with positive impact on beneficiaries, international trade and investments and capacities of GoG countries to counter piracy and boost its economy.