The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said on Tuesday the agency would begin to prosecute pirates under the new Anti-piracy Law.
He stated this in Lagos during the official handover of pirates arrested by the Nigerian Navy for prosecution.
Jamoh, who was represented by the agency’s Head of Legal Services, Victor Egejuru, said NIMASA is ready to collaborate with relevant agencies and stakeholders for the security of the country’s maritime domain.
He noted that the 10 pirates had on May 15 attacked and boarded a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II, off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire and directed it towards Nigerian waters.
According to him, the pirates were arrested by the Nigerian Navy, which dispatched a ship to intercept the vessel following a tip-off.
The NIMASA chief said: “The prosecution of the pirates will be the first trial of bandits arrested in international waters under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act signed into law in June last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The law made Nigeria the first in West and Central Africa to have a distinct antipiracy legislation.”
Jamoh attributed the successful operation that led to the arrest of the pirates and rescue of the ship and its crew to collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy.
He said the agency would continue to work with relevant security agencies in order to achieve its goal of eradicating piracy and all forms of illegality on the Nigerian waters.
“We have just witnessed the handover of pirates. This is as a result of the robust collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy.
“There has been a lot of synergy between NIMASA and the Navy with regard to the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act.
“I also want to seize the opportunity to thank Mr. President for signing the anti-piracy law, which would facilitate sufficient prosecution of these pirates,” he added.
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