Stiff penalty awaits maritime criminals- Says NIMASA
.As FG moves to enforce anti-piracy law
By Udeme Clement
The Federal Government has embarked on measures to ensure a smooth enforcement of the newly enacted anti piracy law as part of efforts to stem criminality on Nigerian waters.
This was revealed in Lagos at the annual Strategic Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges put together by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The theme of the conference was, “Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, 2019: Key to Accelerating and Achieving Safe and Secure Shipping in Nigeria.” it was meant to sensitise judicial sector actors on the import of the antipiracy law.
Speaking at the event, Directors-General of NIMASA and NIALS, Dr. Dakuku Peterside and Professor Mohammed Tawfiq Ladan, respectively, emphasised the need for unencumbered implementation of the law.
They called for cooperation among enforcement agencies, stressing that stringent penalties await maritime criminals in the country.
Dakuku noted that there is a robust framework for criminalisation, punishment of piracy and other maritime crimes in Nigeria, as well as the Gulf of Guinea.
He said the seminar afforded the Judiciary and the Agency a unique opportunity to dialogue on issues of mutual importance, particularly, the sensitisation of Judges on contemporary maritime law issues within and outside Nigeria.
The seminar was previously meant for Judges of the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal, and High Courts of the littoral states. But this year, the scope of participation was further enlarged to include law enforcement agencies.
Dakuku stated, “With the world’s waters accounting for 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 have been issues of global concern”.
“The Gulf of Guinea, sadly, had been at the epicenter 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.” He said the SPOMO Act had addressed that challenge.
The Director-General said the theme of the seminar was 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 implementation of the Act.