Nigeria mulls new law on piracy and armed robbery at sea

Piracy-in-the-Gulf-of-GuineaToju Vincent

24 October 2013, Sweetcrude, Lagos – THE Federal Government has commenced the promulgation of new laws that will further checkmate pirate attacks and related crimes against ships at sea.

Disclosing this, Senior Special Adviser to the President on maritime matters, Mr. Leke Oyewole said that the move is part of Government efforts at curbing the menace of pirates within the West African sub-region.

Speaking at a one day conference on ‘Preventing Terrorism and Insurgency in Nigeria’s maritime domain’ organized by the Maritime Reporters Congress of Nigeria, MARCON, the Senior Special Adviser said that the bill when passed into law will have far reaching effect on pirates and their activities.

Oyewole said that between the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy, a bill has been sent to the National Assembly and that it is undergoing legislative process.

He disclosed that the government has also concluded plans to establish a maritime intelligence desk to enable sister agencies in the sector share intelligence.

“When we have the State Security Service, the Police, the Navy all working together, and the Navy goes ahead to make an arrest on the waters, they do not have the power to prosecute, even NIMASA with their increased capacity too on water also does not have the power to prosecute but when they bring back these criminals to an intelligence desk, the Police with the power to prosecute can as well follow up these crimes to a logical conclusion.

“As far as criminality is concerned in the maritime sector where I assist the Commander in Chief, I know that we will get down to that very soon.

“The bill did not originate from my office, it is with the National Assembly to wrap up, the bill first went from NIMASA coming from the International Maritime Organisation, IMO to Navy who will define the meaning of piracy.

He also noted that the weak enforcement of maritime laws and the non-existence of such laws have kept the country in its present state.

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