The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) says the prosecution of suspected pirates under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act is set to commence.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, in a statement in Lagos on Sunday said that the agency was aiming to rid Nigeria’s waterways of criminalities and reassure the global community that it was getting on top of the security issues in its domain.
The statement was signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA.
Jamoh noted that the Nigerian Navy had arrested the suspected pirates recently, with intelligence support from NIMASA and their trial would be the first under the anti-piracy law signed in June last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He pointed out that the law made Nigeria the first in West and Central Africa to have a stand-alone anti-piracy legislation.
“The agency is mounting a spirited campaign to uproot piracy and armed robbery in the country’s waters.
“The Nigeria’s waters are now safer for navigation, as the proactive approach of NIMASA to safety and security at sea has started yielding fruits.
“This is evidenced in the multiple arrests of suspected pirates in the second quarter of the year,” the director-general said.
He said fighting crime with intelligence and technology had been the hallmark of his administration in the battle against piracy since it came on board three months ago.
Jamoh had launched a three-point agenda focused on Maritime Safety, Maritime Security and Shipping Development, with the acronym 3s, on assumption of office.
“Collapsing our agenda into Security, Safety and Shipping development had given NIMASA a bird’s-eye view of the challenges inherent in the sector.
“Our findings have revealed that these criminals work with the cooperation of international allies and that is what makes them sophisticated and we have set out to tackle them through intelligence gathering and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
“Our recent arrests of 27 suspected pirates through the efforts of Nigerian Navy and Police Force have shown the international community that we are not handling illegalities in our waters with kid gloves,” he said.
He expressed delight in the changing international opinion on safety and security in Nigerian waters.
Jamoh noted the recent congratulatory letter by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO} to Nigeria for its zeal to make the country’s waters safe and secure.
He appealed to the media to ensure adequate and fair reportage of the activities of NIMASA, Nigeria’s maritime industry regulatory agency to properly inform and educate the public.
Jamoh explained that the sector had the potential to exponentially grow the Nigerian economy, given the enormous flora and fauna in the maritime environment, besides mineral resources and shipping activities.
NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy have recently been getting commendations for their efforts in ensuring security in the country’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.