The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr Bashir Jamoh, has stressed the need for the involvement of judges, lawyers, and other relevant prosecuting agencies in the achievement of maritime security.
According to a statement issued by the agency on Monday, Jamoh made this known at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Admiralty Colloquium themed ‘Achieving maritime safety, security, and shipping development’.
The NIMASA boss explained that the agency had received judgment against 10 criminals, three of whom were foreign nationals and seven Nigerians.
He said they were sentenced to seven-years jail term each for maritime offenses on Nigerian waters, also noting that by May, the agency was optimistic of another judgment.
Jamoh was optimistic that with the new collaboration with the judiciary through legal instruments put in place to prosecute criminals, more results would be achieved.
He said the theme of the colloquium was apt because with the Deep Blue project being introduced by the government, issues of maritime crimes on Nigerian territorial waters would be arrested.
Jamoh added that from next year, the scope of the colloquium would be expanded to include Justices of the Supreme Court.
He noted that the communiqué issued by the judges last year had been presented to the National Assembly for necessary amendment.
Jamoh said, “We are happy to announce that the communiqué issued by the judges during the seminar held the previous year on the SPOMO ACT has already been presented to the National Assembly for necessary amendment as suggested by the judges.
“This signifies the first milestone and the progress of these particular judicial proceedings that connect with the maritime industry.”
The DG of the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Prof. Taofeek Ladan, in his own address pointed out that the growing incidents of piracy, kidnapping, and armed robbery on Nigerian territorial waters had continued to dent the image of the country.
According to Ladan, the 2019 first-quarter report by the International Maritime Bureau showed that Nigeria, with a coastline of about 800 kilometers, was tagged as a piracy hotspot as the country’s waters alone accounted for 22 out of 66 piracy incidents reported globally.
To address this worrying situation, he called on all stakeholders including law enforcement agencies, particularly the navy and the judiciary to be part of the admiralty law series in order to seek long term solution to the challenge.