The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has appealed for the standardisation of the legal frameworks of countries in the Gulf of Guinea to aid effective prosecution of maritime crimes.
Jamoh made the appeal in Lagos at the Third Technical Rotating Meeting of the project on “enhancing regional research, convening of stakeholders and capacity development in the Gulf of Guinea” implemented by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, and the Government of Denmark.
A communique calling for the transformation of Yaoundé Code of Conduct (YCC) into a binding convention for better coordination and optimal benefit to the member countries, was issued at the end of the meeting organised in partnership with NIMASA and the Inter-Regional Coordination Centre (ICC).
The Director-General said efforts were being made to standardise regional maritime law enforcement, stressing that some countries are already enacting their own antipiracy laws.
Jamoh stated, “We encourage countries within the region, which do not have distinct antipiracy laws, to try to enact such laws. It is in the interest of every country in the Gulf of Guinea to consciously work to remove obstacles to the prosecution of piracy and sea robbery suspects.
“Shipping is an international business, and crimes associated with it are equally international in nature. Now, how do you try a suspect in a country where our SPOMO Act cannot be applied?
“No country can fight maritime insecurity alone. It is a collective responsibility. There is hardly any nation that does not have a commercial interest in the Gulf of Guinea.
“So we must work to ensure uniformity of legal frameworks in the region to facilitate effective prosecution of maritime crimes.”
The communique said, “The YCC, as it stands now, is a code of practice without any binding provisions. This affects the way it is implemented at the regional and national levels. The meeting, therefore, calls for expedited action towards the transformation of the YCC into a binding Convention taking on board, the peculiar contexts of diverse jurisprudence, linguistic traditions and the inter-regional coverage of the code as well as the different procedures of the three (3) sponsors of the ICC (i.e. ECOWAS, ECCAS and the GGC).”
It said, “Coordination of action at all levels is critical for impact on the ground. Such coordination efforts must begin with states demonstrating willingness to cede portions of their sovereignty and invest in the realizations of the provisions of the YCC.”
The communique also said, “State and multilateral actors who lead in the implementation of safety and security measures in the Gulf of Guinea, must identify and implement relevant confidence-building measures to reinforce the principles of coordination and in the implementation of the YCC.”
The Yaoundé Code of Conduct was signed in 2013 by 25 West and Central African countries. It provides the structure for joint operations, intelligence sharing, and harmonised legal frameworks among its five zones, two regional centres, and one Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) that watch over 6,000 kilometres of coastline and 12 major ports.
The Kofi Anan centre aims to ensure peace and security in Africa through capacity building, research, and policy dialogue.
Danish court returns guilty verdict on Nigerian pirate —- remands him in prison
A Danish court on Monday found a Nigerian guilty of endangering the lives of Danish military personnel in a shooting incident last November involving Denmark’s navy and a crew of suspected Nigerian pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.
However, the court declined to sentence the Nigerian, Lucky Frances, 40, despite a call from the prosecutor for a prison sentence of 12 to 15 months.
As part of international anti-piracy efforts, Denmark deployed a frigate to the Gulf of Guinea in October last year.
“The court emphasized that the 40-year-old Nigeria, together with the other perpetrators, fulfilled all the signs of piracy and had to be described as a pirate group,” Copenhagen city court said in a statement.
Frances, who was injured during a firefight with Danish navy personnel in the November clash, was taken to Denmark for prosecution in January after being treated at a hospital in Ghana.
Frances was exempted from any legal consequences due to his medical condition and the fact that charges against the other three suspected pirates had been dropped, his lawyer Jesper Storm Thygesen told Reuters.
Charges against the three other suspected Nigerian pirates were dropped in January after Denmark failed to find a country in the region to take them.
Frances will remain in custody until both sides have decided whether to appeal against the verdict, Thygesen said.
Possession of NIN by passengers now requirement for boarding trains—Sambo
” The train driver can see from a distance if there are any threats on the tracts that will enable him to match the break long before getting to the threat, and that is why I am telling you confidently,” said the Minister.
The Minister debunked the rumour that train services will resume on Monday, adding that the newly introduced measures will delay the resumption of business along the corridor for a few more days for passengers to get acquainted with the new protocol involved in train boarding before it will resume services.
“We have not said that train services will start tomorrow. I want to be very categorical about that.
“Now, we have introduced a new system before you buy a ticket. The purchase of a ticket requires you to provide a phone number and a national identification number in order to profile you because that is the beginning of the security checks. So at any point in time when a train moves from one station to another, we know who and who are on board.
“If you don’t have a NIN you are not going to board our train, it is as simple as that. If you are a minor, an adult will register for you and an adult can only register for not more than four minors.
“Now, we want to give sufficient time for the Nigerian public to listen to these two requirements, to assimilate this new system.
“So if you go and start tomorrow, a lot of people will be disgruntled. Why didn’t they tell us that this is a new way of doing it? Why didn’t they give us adequate time to do it? So we want to give you adequate time. Definitely between 3,4,5 days, certainly not more than a week.
Sambo assured Nigerians that a smooth and secured train ride is guaranteed while noting that the trains will not travel at night for now, while there is also going to be a review in train fares.
“I can assure you that we are a compassionate government and will consider the masses in the review of the train fare.”
We are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that.
“We’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis and improve on wherever we find some snags”.
“The ticketing called e-ticketing has already been contracted to a company, called secure ID. That concession has gone through the entire concession process under extant laws, including approval by the Federal Executive Council. So that concession remains in place for the duration of the concession period, which I think is 10 years”.
Sambo said that although only God can guarantee maximum security, he assured Nigerians that everything is in place to guarantee a secured and smooth train ride.
“We are not going to tell you what we have done. It is a security matter and I have no apologies for that.
“We’ll be monitoring it on a daily basis and improve on wherever we find some snacks”.
The Minister assured that Secured ID would continue to handle the e-ticketing services.
“The ticketing called e-ticketing has already been contracted to a company called secure ID. That concession has gone through the entire concession process under extant laws, including approval by the Federal Executive Council. So that concession remains in place for the duration of the concession period, which I think is 10 years”.
The Minister was accompanied by the Minster of State for Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye; Minister of Water Resources Eng. Suleiman Adamu; Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation Fidet Okhiria; Chairman Governing Board Nigeria Railway Corporation Ibrahim Musa.
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