The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, has lamented over the deficit in legislation put in place to address and combat the challenges of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
He made this known, on Wednesday in Lagos, during the 9th Admiralty Law Seminar For Judges, themed: Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act 2019: Keys To Accelerating and Achieving Safe and Secure Shipping, held yesterday in Lagos.
The DG noted that the threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea is a global concern considering that the world’s waters account for 80 per cent transportation requirements.
“The challenge of maritime security in the region had been further compounded by a deficit of legislation to address the challenge.
“With the world’s waters accounting for 80 per cent of transportation requirements in the global trading supply chain network across established international routes and trade lines, the threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea and other maritime crimes have been an issue of global concern.
“The Gulf of Guniea, sadly, had been at the epi-centre of maritime security discussions globally, given the incidents recorded in the region,” the DG said.
He, however, noted a robust and detailed framework in place for the criminalisation and punishment of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea with the signing of the Act into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 24th June 2019.
Peterside also stated that the Seminar is in line with the Agency’s broad mandate to promote the development of shipping and capacity building in the maritime sector, giving an explanation for the expansion of the scope of judges.
“The initial targets were the judges of the Federal High Court in view of the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court order under section 25 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 as amended over administrative matters.
“This scope subsequently expanded to include Judges of the state high Court of the Littoral states and later justices of the court of appeal,” Peterside stated.
Peterside, expressing his expectation of enhanced knowledge of participants in the areas of the core mandate of NIMASA, heightened awareness on the provisions of the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act.
Dakuku added that enforceability, assessment of the standard operating procedures in tackling maritime crimes and the gaps and options for improvement and reform should be highly considered.
Meanwhile, Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Professor Muhammed Tawfiq, noted that the choice of this year’s theme was necessitated by the crimes in the Gulf of Guinea; hence, the essence to provide a basis for the explanation, analysis of the 23 provisions of the Act.
He added that both NIMASA and NIALS believe strongly that there is a need for a platform to deploy implementation guidelines for the implementation of the instrument.