By Evelyn Usman
President of Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu has advised Nigerian Universities to strengthen their capabilities to train manpower in European languages, with a view to enhancing the nation’s intelligence collection and analysis operation.
Presenting a paper titled “Road Map To Peace in Africa-Languages and Related Research Efforts: Case of the Gulf of Guinea” at an International Conference on Peace in Africa – Languages and Research Efforts” organized by the Department of European Languages and Integration Studies of the University of Lagos, Ekhomu, noted that the four European languages spoken in the Gulf of Guinea,GoG littoral countries were English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
He lamented that the low level of penetration of other European languages in Nigeria was severely hampering intelligence operations which he described as central to resolving major security challenges in the GOG.
“Universities and tertiary institutions must prioritize European language skills as part of their contribution to building a robust security/intelligence architecture in Nigeria.
There is also need to recruit fresh graduates of European languages from Nigerian Universities to strengthen the nation’s human intelligence operations in the Gulf of Guinea and other conflict zones.
“ This is because bilingual and multilingual security operatives are highly sought after by intelligence agencies of advanced and middle income nations, as good languages skills enable agents to gain clear understand of the issues they are tasked to work on”, Ekhomu said
He enumerated security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea to include piracy, oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, illegal fishing, over-fishing, militancy, as well as attacks on offshore oil assets such as platforms and pipelines.
He added that the Nigeria and Benin territorial waters had been designated as high risk areas, disclosing that the cost of piracy in the GoG had been estimated at $2billion annually. “Unfortunately, pirates are now able to attack deep off-shore at ranges of 130 nautical miles ”, he lamented.
He however, lauded the Nigerian Navy for effectively combating piracy in Nigeria territorial waters, even as he attributed the problem in the Gulf of Guinea to limited capacity on the part of collaborating navies in the Economic Community of Central African States ECCAS.