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Suppression of Piracy Act improving Nigeria’s image as court convicts perpetrators – NIMASA DG

The Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2019, is beginning to produce a better result towards ending piracy and sea robbery within the Gulf of Guinea, Bashir Jamoh, director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has said.

Speaking in Lagos at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Admiralty Law Colloquium organised by the Agency, in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Jamoh said the agency has secured convictions at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and Lagos, and that more judgements 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 tackling piracy and other maritime crimes. This shows that Nigeria has made good progress in the implementation of the SPOMO Act,” he said.

He however noted that the admiralty law conference, in its 10th edition this year, had achieved significant milestones in the continued effort to better maritime law administration in Nigeria.

According to him, the conference was renamed this year to reflect current challenges and widen the scope of participation to include Supreme Court justices.

“I am happy to announce that the key recommendations captured in the communiqué of last year’s conference would be sent to the National Assembly for the necessary legislative actions expected to improve the SPOMO Act. 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.

Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, president of the Court of Appeal, lauded NIMASA as a key organ of economic development, saying that the admiralty law conferences introduced by the Agency are helping to streamline the application of the antipiracy law.

According to her, the maritime sector was indispensable, and being global in nature, “Informed knowledge of the law in the global environment was necessary in order to advance the sector because what touches this sector should be treated with great care.”

The admiralty law seminar was instituted by NIMASA in 2009 for judges in pursuit of the agency’s broad mandate to promote the development of shipping and capacity building in the maritime sector.

This year’s colloquium was themed, “Achieving Maritime Safety, Security and Shipping Development (TRIPODS) through Enforcement of Legislations and the Implementation of the Deep Blue Project: The Role of the Judiciary and State Actors.”

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