The director general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside on Wednesday said the threats of piracy, armed robbery at sea and other maritime crimes have been an issue of global concern.
He disclosed this at the 9th Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges tagged Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act 2019: Keys to accelerating and Achieving Safe and Secure Shipping held in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) held in Lagos.
The DG however said the deficit of legislation has been a challenge to addressing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea which is a source of worry and discussion around the world.
He said, “With the world’s waters accounting over 80percent of transportation requirements in the global trading supply chain network across established international routes and trade lanes, the threats of piracy, armed robbery at sea and other maritime crimes have been an issue of global concern.
“The Gulf of Guinea sadly, had been at the epi-centre of maritime security discussions globally, given the incidents recorded in the region. The challenge of maritime insecurity in the region had been further compounded by a deficit of legislation to address the challenge.”
The NIMASA DG however, said that with the signing of Piracy bill into law, Nigeria now have a detailed framework for criminalization of maritime crimes in Nigeria.
“With the signing into law by Mr. President on the 24th of June, 20l9, the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, facilitated by NIMASA, there is now a robust and detailed framework in place for the criminalization and punishment of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.
“Accordingly, the topics for discussion at this Seminar have been carefully selected to facilitate an understanding of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act and the collaborative mechanisms between the Judiciary and enforcement agencies in the implementation of the Act; to equip participants with the essential knowledge on the requirement of Nigeria’s obligations under the Act and to foster interaction between the judiciary and enforcement officers to share ideas on the likely challenges if any in the enforcement of the Act. ”
“At the end, it is expected that there would be enhanced knowledge of participants in areas of the core mandate of NIMASA, heightened awareness on the provisions of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act and its enforceability, assessment of the standard operating procedures in tackling maritime crimes and the gaps and options for improvement and reform. In addition, a refresher for participating Justices and Judges on the rudiments of Admiralty Law for effective adjudication of maritime disputes.”
The NIMASA boss who commended the Nigerian Judicial Institute (NJI) for their collaboration with the agency in putting the seminar together also disclosed that the seminar was extended to court of appeal and state high court judges.
“In closing, permit me to express our sincere gratitude to the Nigerian Judicial Institute (NJI) for approving the attendance of the participating branches of the judiciary at this Seminar and the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and his team for their collaboration with the Agency to put together this event.
“The Seminar has since its inception afforded a unique opportunity for the judiciary and the Agency to dialogue on issues of mutual importance to both sectors and the country in general; one of the key deliverables being the sensitization of judges on contemporary maritime law issues both within and outside the Nigerian jurisdiction considering the multi-jurisdictional nature of shipping.”
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