Nigeria and other countries in the Gulf of Guinea have lost N380 billion yearly to sea robbers and pirates between 2015 and 2019. Data presented at the Nigerian Admiralty Colloquium in Lagos also showed that between 2016 and 2019, the countries lost $3 billion to the criminals.
The colloquium, jointly organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) in Victoria Lagos focused on ‘Achieving maritime safety, security and shipping development through the enforcement of legislations and the implementation of the deep blue project: The role of the judiciary and state actors’.
Speaking at the forum, the Director-General of NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, stressed the need for maritime security, safety and shipping development in the country.
This, he said, was the reason they carried along with judges from high courts, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court to avoid justice delay.
He said: “We have made good progress in the implementation of the SPOMO Act. We have secured convictions at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and Lagos, and more judgments are expected next month.
“These prosecutions and convictions have greatly helped to improve Nigeria’s image in the international community by producing a better appreciation of the country’s role and determination to end piracy and other maritime crimes in its territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.”
The NIMASA Director-General also spoke on the adjustment in the name of the maritime law sessions, saying it is prompted by the need to bring on board a wider range of stakeholders, including Supreme Court justices.
“From next year, Supreme Court justices and more lawyers would be included in the continuous attempt to fine-tune the processes and procedures of justice administration in maritime issues,” Jamoh stated.
He noted that the communiqué issued by the judges last year had been presented to the national assembly for necessary amendment.
He lamented that the international community had declared Nigerian waters as the most dangerous place because of the incidences of arm robbery, kidnapping and piracy on the sea.
The Director-General of NIALS, Prof. Mohammed Ladan in his opening remark, the region has been witnessing an escalating incidence of piracy, robbery and kidnapping, noting about 98 attacks had occurred in the region between 2018 and 2020.
He noted that the International Maritime Bureau had tagged Nigerian waters as the hotbed of piracy.