NIMASA canvasses legal powers

New legislation and more active prosecution sought.

NIMASA canvasses legal powers to prosecute pirates, sea robbers

Worried by the menace of piracy and other illegalities on Nigerian waters, the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has highlighted the need for Nigeria to institute appropriate laws to prosecute pirates and sea robbers in the country.

Patrick Akpobolokemi, director general, NIMASA, who stated this at the sixth Strategic Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges held in Lagos recently, also lamented that the absence of laws had frustrated the agency’s ability to secure jail terms against suspected sea criminals.

“We need the support of the judiciary in handling the issues of piracy or hydrocarbon theft. The greater challenge is that many of the culprits, whom the agency arrests while committing the sea-related crimes, find themselves out of cell as soon as possible. We arrest someone for piracy with guns, arms and the rest, the next day you see the person on the street,” he lamented.

“When they are on bail, it endangers our lives and also diminishes the interest of those fighting piracy. This also encourages pirates to go back to commit the same crime, and Nigeria’s economy cannot continue to suffer,” he added.

The problem, according to the NIMASA boss, is the absence of laws to prosecute pirates and sea robbers.

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