The Nigerian Navy has disclosed that it will employ the services of designated maritime courts to handle cases of sea robbery, piracy and other maritime offences, to quickly dispense justice in the criminal cases. This was made known by the Chief of Naval Staff, at a press conference, after the closing ceremony of “2019 Global Maritime Security Conference”, in Abuja. The conference was organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation in conjunction with the Nigerian Navy and Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). The naval boss, who was represented by the Chief of Plans and Policy, Rear Admiral Begray Enyinna Ibe-Enwo, emphasised the need for special courts to try the culprits, as this will develop and reinforce the capacities of national maritime authorities, law enforcement agencies, particularly, navies as first responders. Ibe-Enwo, therefore, urged the governments to review and revise extant fishing laws and regulations, and as well ensure enforcement of the laws with particular attention on monitoring, control and surveillance. Speaking at the event, Minister for State Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, assured of a speedy implementation of the conference’s resolutions by establishing GMS Expert Working Group, which would be meeting quarterly and reconvene in two years’ to review the progress.

“We would involve Gulf of Guinea member states, regional, continental and international partners to meet quarterly to follow through the implementation of the resolution,” Saraki reiterated. “We hope to convey a follow up conference in two years to review the resolution and implementation and further action plan if necessary.” She, however, promised to communicate the decisions and recommendations of the conference to the President of Nigeria and ECOWAS, ECCAS, GGC, AU, IMO and other international partners. Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Adol Peterside, urged the Gulf of Guinea States and the international community to put mechanisms in place to ensure that resources that are illegally harvested/explored in the GOG, including stolen oil and illegal unreported and unregulated fishery are banned, as was the case with the “blood diamonds”.

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