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Marine security: Jamoh seeks uniform law in Gulf of Guinea

The director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh has called on countries within the Gulf of Guinea to enact antipiracy laws that will aid effective prosecution of perpetrators of maritime crimes.

Jamoh made the appeal in Lagos recently at the Third Technical Rotating Meeting of the project on ‘Enhancing Regional Research, Convening of Stakeholders and Capacity Development in the Gulf of Guinea,’ implemented by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, and the Government of Denmark.

Jamoh disclosed that some countries are already enacting their own antipiracy laws, and called on other countries that do not have to try to enact such laws.

“It is in the interest of every country in the region to consciously work to remove obstacles to the prosecution of pirates and sea robbers. Shipping is an international business, and crimes associated with it are equally international in nature,” he said.

Jamoh however said that no country can fight maritime insecurity alone because it is a collective responsibility, adding that there is hardly any nation that does not have a commercial interest in the Gulf of Guinea.

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Meanwhile, a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting called for the transformation of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC) into a binding convention for better coordination and optimal benefit to the member countries.

“The YCC, as it stands is a code of practice without any binding provisions. This affects the way it is implemented at regional and national levels. The meeting, therefore, calls for expedited action towards the transformation of the YCC into a binding Convention taking on board, the particular contexts of diverse jurisprudence, linguistic traditions, and the inter-regional coverage of the code as well as the different procedures of the three sponsors of the ICC (i.e. ECOWAS, ECCAS, and the GGC),” the communiqué stated.

It stated that member nations must demonstrate a willingness to cede portions of their sovereignty and invest in the realisations of the provisions of the YCC.

The Yaoundé Code of Conduct was signed in 2013 by 25 West and Central African countries. It provides a structure for joint operations, intelligence sharing, and harmonised legal frameworks among its five zones, two regional centres, and one Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) that watches over 6,000 kilometres of coastline and 12 major ports.

The Kofi Anan centre aims to ensure peace and security in Africa through capacity building, research, and policy dialogue.

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