Our reporter

Nigeria will this week commence the prosecution of suspected pirates arrested in the country, in order to rid its waterways of criminalities and reassure the global community that it is getting on top of the security issues in its maritime domain.

According to the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh who made the disclosure during interactions with journalists in Lagos, Nigeria the prosecution of the suspects comes under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Navy had arrested some pirates recently, with intelligence support from NIMASA, and their trial will be the first under the antipiracy law signed in June last year by President Muhammadu Buhari. The law made Nigeria the first in West and Central Africa to have a standalone antipiracy legislation.

Jamoh said the Agency was mounting a spirited campaign to root out piracy and armed robbery in the country’s waters and that Nigeria’s waters were now safer for navigation, as the proactive approach of NIMASA to safety and security at sea had started yielding fruits. “This is evidenced in the multiple arrests of suspected pirates in the second quarter of the year, he said,” he said.

He said NIMASA had sent a proposal to the Federal Government on the issue of providing incentives for stakeholders in the maritime sector, adding that Federal Ministry of Transportation is also putting final touches to arrangements for the disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), he revealed, stressing that operators in the maritime industry would soon begin to access the fund.

“Our findings have revealed that these criminals work with the cooperation of international allies and that is what makes them sophisticated. We have set out to tackle them through intelligence gathering and collaboration with relevant stakeholders. Our recent arrests have shown the international community that we are not handling illegalities in our waters with kid gloves,” he said and expressed delight in the changing international opinion on safety and security in Nigerian waters, as seen in a recent congratulatory letter by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO} to Nigeria for its zeal to make the country’s waters safe and secure.

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