The Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2019, is producing better appreciation of Nigeria’s determination to end piracy and sea robbery in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.
This was disclosed through a press release by the Head, Corporate Communications of the Agency, Mr. Kyanet Philip informing of the maiden edition of the Nigerian Admiralty Law Colloquium held in Lagos recently by NIMASA in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
The Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh said the admiralty law conference, in its 10th edition, 2021 has achieved significant milestones in the sustained effort to better maritime law administration in Nigeria.
The colloquium which had the theme, “Achieving Maritime Safety, Security and Shipping Development (TRIPOD S) through Enforcement of Legislations and the Implementation of the Deep Blue Project: The Role of the Judiciary and State Actors,” drew a commendation from Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, President of the Court of Appeal who lauded NIMASA as a key organ of economic development.
President of the Appellate Court said the admiralty law conferences introduced by NIMASA is helping to streamline application of the antipiracy law. The maritime sector in her assessment was indispensable, and being global in nature, “Informed knowledge of the law in the global environment” was necessary to advance the sector.
Her presence being the first in the admiralty law sessions, had her say, “What touches this sector should be treated with great care.”
The DG mentioned as well the modification in the name of the maritime law sessions, saying the need to bring on board a wider range of stakeholders like the Supreme Court justices informed the altering.
He said, “The Admiralty Law Conference instituted by NIMASA has achieved important milestones in the pursuit of its target of continuously improving maritime law administration in Nigeria. 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.
“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 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 determination to end piracy and other maritime crimes in its territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.”
“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.”
Others in attendance were Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Hon. Justice Rosaline Bozimo, who was represented by a Director in the institute, Olumo Abdulazeez; Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Professor Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan; and Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, represented by Justice Ayokunle Faji.
Reminiscing the annual event, 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.
The initial target was judges of the Federal High Court, who have exclusive jurisdiction over admiralty matters under Section 25| (l) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria I999 (as amended).
The scope was expanded twice to accommodate judges of the State High Court of the littoral states and justices of the Court of Appeal, due to their strategic roles in the dispensation of justice.
The Ninth Strategic Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges last year was themed, “Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, 2019: Key to Accelerating and Achieving Safe and Secure Shipping in Nigeria.”