FG Urges Stake­hold­ers to De­vice Strate­gies to Boost Mar­itime Se­cu­rity

THISDAY - - BUSINESS WORLD - Ero­mosele Abio­dun MAR­ITIME

The At­tor­ney Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has called on stake­hold­ers in the mar­itime sec­tor to de­velop a strat­egy to deal with the chal­lenges within the per­mis­si­ble scope of se­cu­rity agen­cies to im­prove on mar­itime se­cu­rity.

The min­is­ter made the call in a pre­sen­ta­tion tagged, ‘Armed Guards Aboard Mer­chant Ves­sels in Nige­ria -Le­gal or Il­le­gal,’ at the 3th Edi­tion of La­gos In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Week in La­gos.

Malami, who was rep­re­sented by the Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Fi­nan­cial Crimes, Mr. Abio­dun Aikomo said mar­itime se­cu­rity has be­come an im­por­tant re­quire­ment for mer­chants’ ves­sels over the last decade due to the in­creas­ing threats from pirates across the world.

He stressed that the is­sue of mar­itime se­cu­rity in the Nige­rian ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters should be taken se­ri­ously.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “Hu­man be­ings have the re­spon­si­ble for self-preser­va­tion of their life and limbs and by ex­ten­sion, pri­vate prop­er­ties and in­vest­ments. As to the le­gal­ity and il­le­gal­ity of armed guards on mer­chant ves­sels in Nige­ria, the de­bate should no longer be fo­cused on whether armed guards should be em­ployed.

“Rather, how they can ef­fec­tively, legally and safely be en­gaged with em­pha­sis on ac­cred­i­ta­tion and ac­count­abil­ity. In this re­gard, the United King­dom and Norway have pro­vided reg­u­la­tions on the use of pri­vate guards on-board.”

He added: “The In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber of Ship­ping (ICS) has also an­nounced its change of stance on armed guards. Even though Nige­rian- flagged ves­sels can­not make use of armed pri­vate guards as the law stands to­day. The re­al­ity is that there must be a dy­namic strat­egy of deal­ing with se­cu­rity chal­lenges fac­ing mer­chant ves­sels in Nige­rian wa­ters.”

He said that it could be nec­es­sary to amend the relevant laws in long term, adding that there was need for stake­hold­ers to de­velop a strat­egy within the scope of power of the Nige­rian Mar­itime Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in col­lab­o­ra­tion with other sis­ter agen­cies.

In his speech, the Con­sulGen­eral of France, Mr. Lau­rent Polon­ceaux, said that Nige­ria was sur­rounded by French­s­peak­ing neigh­bours and also was the largest trad­ing part­ner of France in West Africa.

Polon­ceaux said that the busi­ness in­ter­est of both coun­tries per­vaded all seg­ments of econ­omy in the value chain rang­ing from oil and gas, food and nu­tri­tion, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, se­cu­rity, trans­porta­tion, lo­gis­tics and Africa food pro­duc­tion.

He fur­ther added: “There are also 120 French com­pa­nies regis­tered in Nige­ria, as com­mer­cial part­ner­ship, di­rect, ac­qui­si­tion and af­fil­i­ates. It will take a lit­tle look of the list of coun­tries by length of coast­line to re­alise that Norway is num­ber two af­ter Canada, while France is num­ber nine.

“France sup­ported the builtup and strength­en­ing of the mar­itime se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­ture de­cided by the heads of African states dur­ing the Yaounde Sum­mit in June 2013.

“Mis­sion Co­rymbe is a France Navy scheme ini­ti­ated in 1990, prepo­si­tioned in West Africa, which helped to re­in­force the ca­pac­ity of the costal marines of the Gulf of Guinea in the field of mar­itime safety.”

On her part, the Founder of La­gos In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime

Week, Mrs. Orit­se­matosan Edodo-Emore, said the theme of this year event was, “De­vel­op­ing Mar­itime In­fra­struc­ture in Africa.”

Edodo-Emore said that de­vel­op­ment in the mar­itime in­dus­try in Africa should de­fine the vi­sion for the in­dus­try in the con­ti­nent by seek­ing in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion to ac­tu­alise the vi­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to her, it was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the coun­try to take ad­van­tage of the global short­age of skilled mar­itime man­power by de­vel­op­ing our mar­itime ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing in­sti­tu­tions to pro­duce skilled man­power for con­ti­nen­tal and global mar­kets.

She said that in­tro­duc­tion of youths to the mar­itime in­dus­try was key to the longterm de­vel­op­ment of mar­itime man­power in Africa.

The La­gos Com­mis­sioner for Trans­porta­tion, Mr. Ladi Lawan­son, said con­cern­ing the de­vel­op­ment of all modes of trans­porta­tion, the state gov­ern­ment in 2008, es­tab­lished the La­gos State Wa­ter Author­ity (LASWA).

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