NIMASA, NIALS decry crimes on Nigerian waterways
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), have decried the high rate of piracy, armed robbery, and other maritime crimes on the nation’s waterways.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, said with the world’s waters accounting over 80 per cent 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 remain a global concern.
Dakuku spoke yesterday, at the 9th Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges, themed: “Suppressing of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act 2019: Keys to Accelerating and Secure Shipping.”
According to him, the Gulf of Guinea, sadly, has been at the epicentre of maritime security discussions globally, given the incidents recorded in the region, adding that the challenge of maritime insecurity has been further compounded by a deficit of legislation to address the challenge.
He added: “With the signing into law by Mr. President on June 24, 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 criminalisation and punishment of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.”
Peterside however noted that the discussion at the seminar for judges will 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.
He noted that it will also equip participants with the essential knowledge on the requirement of Nigeria’s obligations under the Act; and foster interaction between the judiciary and enforcement officers to share ideas on the likely challenges if any in the enforcement of the Act.
Director-General of NIALS, Prof. Mohammed Ladan, said the seminar theme is imperative due to the proposed, first stand-alone Anti-sea Piracy and maritime crimes law in the Gulf of Guinea. This is aimed at stemming the waves/tides of sea piracy and armed robbery and other challenges of maritime safety and security that hamper sustainable economic growth and development of all the littoral states in the Gulf of Guinea region.
He hinted that West Africa and its trading partners cumulatively lost about $2.3billion to maritime crimes between 2016 and 2018, or about $777million between 2015 and 2018, aside human costs as the Gulf of Guinea experienced an escalation of piracy, kidnapping, and armed robbery at sea between 2018 and 2019.
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