Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Somali pirates are demanding $1 million (US) to release 10 Nigerians recently reported to be in their custody. The Nigerians were kidnapped over 18 months ago when their vessel, the MV Yenagoa Ocean, was seized.
In response to these ransom demands, members of Nigeria's Senate summoned the National Security Adviser and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Interior. This move is in addition to the fact that President Yar'Adua recently set up a committee to retrieve the vessel, and hopefully its crew.

The kidnapped Nigerians are
  1. Graham Egbegi (Captain)
  2. David Akpoguma
  3. Namo Musa
  4. Usman Ochoche Agida
  5. Lucky Edoja
  6. John Nkanu
  7. Effiong Joseph
  8. Emma Okon Timothy
  9. Okuns Kalikio
  10. Bassey Etim
One can only hope that these individuals will be freed in relatively good health and can return to their families and their lives. While it is unfortunate that it has taken 18 months for the Nigerian government to seek the return of these citizens, it is good that some work is hopefully being done to achieve the objective. Issues, however, remain with whether the ransom demand will be paid or not. There is the obvious concern that paying the ransom will only sanction the behavior of the pirates and encourage the piracy problem.

Despite these concerns, it is in the interest of the Federal Government of Nigeria, which is increasingly seen as not being committed to the interests of the people, to bring these individuals home. Such success would advance the government's goals of reorienting the way Nigerians view the government and in fact, would be helpful at changing the nation's image abroad - two issues sought to be addressed by the new national re-branding project.

Being that the MV Yenagoa Ocean is a private vessel reportedly owned by the relative of a powerful current Minister, the owner of the ship should cough up the money. The owner, working with or without the diplomatic arm of the government, should work hard to gain the freedom of these individuals, In fact, it is surprising that the Nigerian press is yet to release the name of the individual or company that owns the MV Yenagoa Ocean and is thus responsible for the safety of the crew. The revelation of such information could have been useful in putting more pressure on all parties to work efficiently for the peaceful and successful resolution of this matter. But, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that these Nigerians return to their families and that this government create and implement a plan that will help to prevent a repeat of this sad situation.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Somali Pirates, Nigerian Hostages & African Silence
- Nigeria's Re-branding Effort
- Using Nigerians to Re-Brand Nigeria
- Why I Blog About Africa
- Who Will Fight For Nigeria? (AFRICOM PT. 1)
- AFRICOM... The Dotted Line Has Been Signed
- Zimbabwe

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Spesh said...

So all the time we were talking about the US crew on your blog and how the nigerian government should step in,there were nigerians abducted as well???
this is unbecoming of the 'giant of africa' as we claim to be.....

Beauty said...

Being that the MV Yenagoa Ocean is a private vessel reportedly owned by the relative of a powerful current Minister alas the true story. There are several undocumented Nigerians working in this industry yet their welfare does not concern anyone. There are alternative stories about the so called piracy in Somali/international waters but until we halt the journey from becoming another Somalia the future does not look orange.


@ My World: unfortunately, yes, my sista. Now that there is some internal pressure to get the ship and crew back, the pirates want a ransom. I can only hope that these individuals are alive and we make it back home. How are you?

@ Beauty: Yes, the owners of that vessel should be responsible for the welfare of the crew.

The issues surrounding the creation of the Somalia we see today are far too complex. My Somali friends have shared their views/versions and all I can say is that a solution is necessary. Bu will the characters involved agree to a solution? That is the issue. Particularly now that a leading religious leader refuses to meet with he nation's 'president'.

How are things?

Dojaa said...

I have been watching the situation in Somalia for years and I have been shocked by how the United Nations(a completely useless organisation), has failed to find a solution to the problems of a governmentless country like Somalia which has easy access to international shipping lines.
I think using military force to help restore a governing system in Somalia would have been a sensible idea years ago......on the other hand they do not have any really valueable resource like oil.
So today we have a country with Islamic extremists, warlords and pirates!

Anonymous said...

kidnapped 18months ago? then you ask 4 $1 million US? They failed pirating 101. 1st lesson: do not kidnap African citizens



@ Doja: I see your point. But I sometimes wonder if anyone could have made a difference in SOmalia be it UN, US, EU or even Africans. And, now that the Islamic leadership is entrenched, as are every other faction in that country, what is going to happen? I have absolutely no ideas, but hope someone has some good ones.

Hope all is well, my sista.

@ Kookie: Not sure if you meant to be funny, my sista, but your comment brought a smile to my face. Yes, it is commonly understood that African hostages, make no sense. I find it fishy that a boat would be commandeered and the African crew would be held. They were either freed or God forbid, killed.

I am waiting for the Nigerian government to reveal if the crew is safe. The fact that that has not been said, makes me wonder.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and join the conversation.

Denford said...

Question: Nigeria is supposed to be a power to reckon with in ECOWAS, why do the coastal countries not come together and whip the hell out of these pirates.

I am sure if they established a coast guard of some sort, armed with mean and fast gear, this scourge would be gone in a week.

I am also certain that countries like Britain and America would help to fund such a force.

It is time Africans learned to cooperate and things like this would come to an end


@ Denford: From your lips to the African God's ears my brother. lol!

Actually, AFRICOM is working with the Nigerian navy to fight piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and is working with many other countries on related issues. In fact, I have a post already written waiting to be published on this subject. I'll seek your opinion on that one.

But, at the end of the day, and I hate to say this - when was the last time African governments successfully collaborated without the interference of others? Personally, I think that if private interests got together and African governments stayed out of the way, there could be more progress. Imagine paying young Somalis/Kenyans/Somaliland citizens to police the waters? BTW, Somaliland even offered its port to counter piracy, I am still waiting for the AU to realize this could indeed be a good idea...

Anyway, let me stop. How are you, Denford?

Anya Posh said...

Hmm...what will foreign affairs do about it?! LOL...oh & what was that Nigerian crew doing in somali waters? Well, let's watch and see what will happen. And if they were kidnapped 18months ago why hasn't there been better coverage on this matter? I guess the Nigerian govt. is busy focused on that rebranding stunt.


@ Anyaposh: I can understand your suspicions. The vessel was returning from Singapore where it had gone for "repairs". Why any ship has to go all the way to Singapore for repairs, I don't know. But those are the facts as I know them form a ThisDay report which I wrote about some weeks ago.

As to why nobody heard about them until now, your guess is as good as mine. The newspaper blew the story open when Captain Phillips was held hostage some weeks ago. That is when yardy set up a 'team' and later on the National Assembly started looking into things as well. I think we are lucky to even have this much info on this situation, but you know how things go.

Anyway, thanks so much for coming by here, my sista.

Anonymous said...

The tugboat has apparently been released today though i haven't heard anything about how or why the release came about.

buy kitchen cabinets said...

Last time I checked it was the 21st century. PIRATES?

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