Government fast tracks bill against sea pirates, illegal trade
Determined to ensure optimum safety, the Federal Government is concluding plans to put in place a new law to curtail the activities of illegal shippers and sea pirates on Nigerian nation’s waters.
The bill on ‘Suppression of Piracy and other unlawful Acts at Sea,’ is currently with the executive arm of government waiting to be transmitted to the legislative chambers for proper processing into law.
The move became imperative as Nigeria is often accused of not exploiting the full potential of its water resources, while the developed countries are seen to be doing a better job.
Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who spoke at the just concluded third AAMA conference in Abuja, said: “as a maritime nation, Nigeria has a responsibility together with other nations and international organisations, like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), to make our waters safe and secure.
“It is in this regard, that we pledge our commitment to the speedy processing of the proposed bill for an Act, to provide for the Suppression of Piracy and other unlawful Acts at Sea (and other related offences). The bill, when passed, is expected to give expression to relevant Conventions, Treaties and Charters on safety and security and further strengthen Nigeria’s desire to make its waters safe,” Dogara said.
“The bill is in the court of the executive at the moment and we await its transmission as an executive bill for legislative processing into law. The Executive should also use the opportunity to transmit other IMO Conventions and Protocols that have been acceded to by Nigeria, for domestication by the National Assembly,” he added.
Dogara argued that African countries needed to do much more to use their God given resources to feed their people, fight poverty and develop efficient ports and effectively administer the waters of the seas.
“We can create high paying jobs for our teeming youths, develop an efficient transportation system, and exploit efficiently the oil and gas resources and other minerals contained in the deep seas and oceans of Africa. Nigeria is potentially a major maritime power considering the depth and breadth of our Exclusive Economic Zone, and Territorial waters, and can efficiently and effectively make sustainable use of the oceans and seas,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Director-General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, for his emergence as the President, Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA).
Peterside takes over from Sobantu Tilayi, the acting Chief Executive Officer of the South African Maritime and Safety Agency (SAMSA), who has been the acting Chair of the association since 2013.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a statement expressed the President’s enthusiasm with the new AAMA leadership.He described the election of Peterside as the chairman of the continental body for the next one year, as a confirmation that the country has the human capital required to make Nigeria a leading maritime nation.
He said: “Peterside’s unanimous election is not only a personal honour and an affirmation of confidence in his ability to lead AAMA, but also places Nigeria in a pivotal position to rally other maritime administrations in collaboration with the IMO towards safer global maritime activities.
According to the President, Peterside’s new position provides him with an even bigger platform to forge ahead in doing the nation proud by meeting the objectives of AAMA, while also acknowledging NIMASA’s encouraging performance under Peterside especially in the fight against sea piracy through inter agency cooperation.
Peterside was elected as the new Chairman of AAMA at the just-concluded third conference of the association with the theme, ‘Sustainable Use of Africa’s Oceans and Seas,’ which was attended by 34 African countries.
The Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Bashir Jamoh, at a post-event media conference, disclosed that Egypt would host the next conference, while South Africa retains the secretariat.Meanwhile, Namibia and Seychelles are jostling for the 2019 hosting right.