The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that it has trained 156 persons on the enforcement of the Supression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act popularly known as Anti Piracy Law.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh at the weekend said that the trial of 27 suspected pirates so far arrested would commence between Monday and Wednesday this week.
Jamoh also revealed that NIMASA is now harmonizing its anti piracy and maritime surveillance gadget; C4i with that of other security agencies including the Nigerian Navy’s FALCON EYE, the Nigerian Ports Authority’s C3i and the Nigerian police.
He said that all the agencies are no longer working at cross purposes, and this would provide for better platform in addressing the challenge of insecurity on Nigerian waterways.
DAILY TREND NEWS reports that the trial of the 17 pirates would be a test case for NIMASA on fighting piracy in Africa. Nigeria is also the only country that has so far developed a law to prosecute pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.
Recall that NIMASA recently recorded arrests of 10 pirates arrested in collaboration with Nigerian Navy, 17 pirates were also arrested in Port Harcourt by the Nigerian police, making a total number of 27 arrests. This has attracted a lot of commendations from the international community, with a recent letter of commendation from the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Kitack Lim.
Dr Jamoh while briefing Maritime journalists said “We are about to move them down to Lagos any moment from now, and we hope to file our own case in the court between Monday and Wednesday”
Speaking further, he said “Between 2007 and 2016 very few arrests were made, but between 2016 till date, we did not have a single arrest in terms of piracy. But right now we have sent a very strong signal to the international community that Nigeria is no longer sleeping when it comes to issue of piracy”
“Before the passage of the Anti Piracy Act, if we arrest a pirate, we dont usually know what to do with them because there is no specific law to prosecute them.
But right now, guidelines and regulations that would fast track trial has been developed”
“So far, we have trained 156 individuals coming from the Nigerian Navy, NIMASA, NPA, Nigerian Police, the Attorney General of the federation whose responsibility it is to try these offenders also have some people in the training”
“We have equally created a working group which comprises of international bodies like INTERTANKO, INTERCARGO, ICS, etc. The working group is being chaired by NIMASA, and every month we hold meetings, we discuss common interests and prefer solutions, each group takes away certain measures that would guide their members” he said
The NIMASA boss noted that major challenges the agency has identified in terms of maritime safety has to do with lack of platforms, synergy and coordination among the players.
“Recently, we have been trying to take stock of who does what, at NIMASA we have the C4i as our means of overseeing the waterways, NPA has a similar thing called 3Ci, the Nigerian Navy has similar thing called Falcon Eye, so in trying to harmonise, because we are all serving the same federal government, we have now agreed that these platforms would now interface with each other, whenever we have safety problems, there platforms would identify where the problem lies and at the end of the day we would be able to tackle it”
“We are now taking stock of what each agency is having and what we dont have, this would help us to address the limitations by building a concrete platform that can fight insecurity judiciously” he assured