NIMASA: We Have Made Good Progress In the Implementation Of The PROMO Act – Jamoh

By Stephen Ubanna

Barely three  years after The signing of  the Suppression  of Piracy  and Other Maritime Offences , PROMO, Act by President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had said that the agency has made ‘’good progress in the implementation of the act’’. 

Jamoh had alluded to the Convictions at a Federal  High Court  in Port Harcourt, Capital of oil-rich Rivers state  and Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre of some arrested and prosecuted Pirates. Note that 10 arrested Pirates who were said to have  attacked a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II, off the coast of Coted’Ivoire and directed it towards Nigerian waters but fell into the waiting hands of the Nigerian Navy  were  handed over to the agency.  They  may have formed the  first set of suspects that were prosecuted unde the PROMO Act.

Also on the list of the suspects prosecuted under the Law by the agency  were   three of the  suspects, who were said to have been  involved  in the hijack   of an Equatorial Guinea flagged  vessel, MV.ELOBEY VI, off the  West African country coast  on March21, 2020 and securing  a $200,000 ransom for the Crew to be released.  The  agency may have taken advantage of the PROMO Act, to drag  the suspects to a Federal High Court in PortHarcourt, capital of oil Rivers state and Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre.

The Maritime Regulatory agency  had secured convictions for the three of the suspects dragged to the Federal High Court in PortHarcourt over their involvement in the  hijack of  an Equatorial flagged vessel, MV. Eobey VI, of the coast of the West African country. There were nine persons that were said to have been involved in the hijack of the vessel. 

According to Jamoh, ‘’the Prosecutions and Convictions  have greatly  helped   to improve  Nigeria’s image in the comity of nations by producing  a better appreciation  of the country’s role  and determination  to end Piracy and other Maritime crimes  in the nation’s waters  and the Gulf of Guinea.’’

There are indications that more  Judgments  are expected in the next six months on other Pirates and other sea Criminals who are still standing trial  at the Federal High Courts. That much was confirmed by Jamoh, the NIMASA Director General at this year’s Admiralty Law Conference in Lagos.

Jamoh: Addressing Participants At The NIMASA, Admiralty Conference In Lagos

The NIMASA boss may have taken advantage of the Admiralty Conference, to break  the news that from 2022,  ‘’Supreme Court Justices and more Lawyers  would be included in the Conference  in the continuous  attempt to fine- tune  ‘’the processes  and procedures of Justice of Administration in maritime issues’’.

He may have gladdened the heart of the Participants at the Conference, who were mostly from the Federal High Courts including Lawyers, that this year’s Conference, which is the 10th, since it was instituted by the agency in 2009, had’’ achieved  significant milestones  in its continued effort to better Maritime Law Administration in Nigeria’’. There is no gainsaying the fact that’’ this year’s Conference may have been renamed by the agency  ‘’to reflect  the current  challenges of the nation’s maritime sector and  widen the scope of participation’’.

He was said  to  have  promised that the key recommendations  captured in  in the Communique of the 2020, Admiralty Conference  would be forwarded to the National Assembly  for the necessary  Legislative actions expected to improve the PROMO Act, that  had already been signed into law by the Katsina state born Nigerian President, in June 2019.

Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, President of the Court of Appeal, who could not hide he feelings had said that  NIMASA is a ‘’key  organ of  the country’s economic development’’, noting that the Amiralty Law Conference instituted by the agency  is  ‘‘helping to streamline application of the maritime law in the country’’ .

This year’s  Admiralty Conference  which has as its theme , achieving  Maritime Safety, Security  and Shipping Development: The Role of The Judiciary and State Actors. The agency may have been drawn from  Jamoh’s agenda for the agency which has to do with’’ Maritime Safety, Security and Shipping Development’’, regarded in maritime circles as the TRIPODS, through the Enforcement  of Legislations and the implementation of the Deep Blue  Project.

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