The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has appealed to judicial and legal officers to come to the aid of the Agency in the timely prosecution of persons involved in illegal activities in the nation‚Äôs territorial waters.
This appeal was made by the Director General of the Agency, Mr. Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi while declaring open the fifth Strategic Admiralty Seminar for Judges, organised by the Agency in Lagos. The DG disclosed that NIMASA had made several arrests of persons involved in illegal bunkering, oil theft and piracy-related activities who are yet to be prosecuted due to challenges in the system.
He however said that very little result had been recorded in prosecution and therefore called on the judiciary and other legal officers to assist the Agency in its relentless fight against maritime crimes.
While stating that NIMASA has been effectively collaborating with the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies to curb crimes at sea, Mr. Akpobolokemi noted that their gains can only become tangible when the judiciary plays its part effectively.
Commenting on human capacity development, the Director-General declared that significant gains had been recorded through the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP), which is expected to outlive the present management of the Agency.
He said: ‚ÄúWe have embarked on a conscious effort to develop manpower for the Nigerian maritime sector with the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme.‚Äù
In order to further advance the capacity development initiatives, Akpobolokemi stated that the Agency had received approval from the Federal Executive Council to establish maritime institutes in four Nigerian universities. These are: University of Lagos, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State; and Niger Delta University Amasomma, Bayelsa State, in addition to on-going plans for the establishment of a Nigerian Maritime University.
He pledged the Agency‚Äôs commitment to continuously fund the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, noting that partnership with the institution would be strengthened.
Participants at the seminar thanked the management of NIMASA for organising the programme, noting that it would broaden their appreciation of the application and practice of admiralty law in Nigeria.
The Strategic Admiralty Seminar, an initiative of the Agency, is an annual programme which brings together Justices of the Appeal Court, High Courts and lawyers to brainstorm on contemporary issues in Admiralty law and practice.