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Westward Ho! The evolution of maritime piracy in Nigeria

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Since 2008 the international community has come together amid mounting pressure to take action towards tackling the pirate menace off the Somali coast that has posed a multi-pronged threat to global economic, strategic and security interests. However, piracy has also been occurring in the Gulf of Guinea, specifically in Nigeria, and has officially overtaken the Gulf of Aden as the primary piracy hotspot. This article seeks to investigate piracy in Nigeria by tracing its evolution and crosschecking this against the legal definition thereof under international law. It seeks to contextualize the phenomenon with discussion on the nature of the Nigerian state and the legacy of oil in Nigeria. Further, the article establishes piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as unique, by illustrating the differences between piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the Gulf of Aden. By summarizing the range of efforts designed to counter piracy in West Africa, the article is able to provide relevant prescriptions.
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Keywords: Gulf of Guinea; Nigeria; West Africa; maritime security; organized crime; piracy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Johannesburg

Publication date: September 1, 2014

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  • The Portuguese Journal of Social Science opens a gateway for the international community to engage with a high calibre of academic work in social sciences produced by Portuguese scholarship. Previous to the publication of this journal, this work remained largely inaccessible to an international readership due to issues with language and translation.
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