- To exchange data, share intelligence and joint naval exercise
The governments of Nigeria and Italy are finalising draft agreement on defence and military cooperation for effective counter-piracy and counter-insurgency operations in the West African country.
The Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali met his Italian counterpart, Madam Roberta Pinnoti, in Rome on Tuesday, to finalise the agreement.
Dan-Ali in his speech commended Pinnoti for the bilateral talks between the two countries to help enhance their “long partnership economically and most recently security”.
He also commended Italy for the support through European Union to Nigeria in fighting terrorism.
The Minister however, appealed to the Italian government to “consider humanitarian assistance to the displace persons in the North Eastern part of Nigeria affected by the inhumanity of the Boko Haram terrorists”.
Dan-Ali said that since the coming of the President Buhari’s administration two years ago a lot has been achieved in the fight against insurgency and other violent crimes across the sub region.
He said: “As you are aware also Nigeria and other countries along the gulf of Guinea suffer lot of criminal activities, from drug and human trafficking, piracy, robbery and other criminal maritime activities. This practice no doubt is a threat to the existence of humanity and economic development of our nations. I therefore solicit for your cooperation so that together we can stamp out crimes in our maritime environment.
“It should be recalled during the visit of your Prime Minister to my country in February 2016 the need to have enhanced cooperation in the defence sector was given a top priority. Both President Muhammadu Buhari and Prime Minister Renzi agreed to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries that will see to the prompt destruction of Boko Haram Insurgents and other illegal crimes in our territorial waters.”
The Minister said his visit is aimed towards consolidating what our two leaders kick started in Abuja early last year.
Dan-Ali stated: ” I want to assure you very soon Nigerian and Italy will finalise the draft of a technical military and defence agreement that will among other things facilitate: Exchange of data and experiences on technical matters affecting the preparation and conduct of combined naval operations in the field of counter piracy awareness and oil platforms protection.
“Hold combines counter piracy exercises and other maritime security activities in international waters and territorial waters of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Train Nigerian Navy personnel ashore and on-board of the Italian vessels.
“Be able to arrange working meetings and briefings ashore and on shore between experts to discuss the implementation of this Agreement and results of training and cooperation activities. To take measures to improve the readiness of the parties to conduct combined naval operations.”
“To engage some Italian companies in the area of repairs and remodelling of some Nigerian Army self-propelled artillery equipment.
“The agreement will also consider cooperation in any other field of naval activities at practical level. I can assure you very soon the two countries will sign Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen out cooperation,” he added.