The Nigerian Navy has advocated the establishment of special court to try maritime offenders in the country, saying it is largely in effort to accelerate adjudication of justice on maritime offenders and curb sea crimes in Nigerian maritime domain.
The Chief of Naval Staff, (CNS) Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, made the call at a news conference held at the close of the three-day Global Maritime Conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ibas, who was represented by Rear Adm. Begroy Ibe-Enwo, Chief of Policy and Plans Naval Headquarters, said that the Maritime Domain Awareness has improved security in the Nigerian maritime environment.
He suggested that certain courts in the country should be designated as maritime court to handle maritime cases.
On patrol efforts, the CNS said “two ships are going to join us soon from the fishery department and will be dedicated for anti-fishery operations.”
“For the patrol efforts, we have a trinity of actions, we are reinforcing by the day. The first leg of that action is surveillance.
“The sea out there is a wide expanse of water, before we began to improve on our maritime domain awareness it requires ships and maybe helicopters to sail out to sea to use their radar to see what is going on there.
“But right now, in Abuja, Lagos, Calabar and other centres, we are able to see what’s going out there.
“But after seeing what we can see, the next is to deploy ships and helicopters to arrest and intercept these suspects.
“That is one area we are still building on because we don’t have enough ships to dominate the entire waters that we need to police.
“It is a work in progress more ships are being bought by the government
“With some other levels of collaborations even the fishery department is coming on board fully,” he said, noting that in Ghana, fishery department and their Navy collaborate very firmly on this to the extent that the fishery department also buys ships and vessels for the navy to use.
According to him, that’s the model we are also adopting, two ships are going to join us soon from the fishery department and will be dedicated for anti fishery.
“The third leg is enforcement, which revolves around the legal regime. Fortunately, the piracy and suppression of criminal activities act is on.
“It is already a deterrence by itself by the main fact that the criminals or would be criminals know that there is a legislation that will bring them to book, that is already a check.
“But those who still want to be die hard, the law is out there to catch up with them.
“It is not a new thing when we say to establish maritime courts rather we have recaptured to express it as the designation of certain courts within the country.
“It will not require any parliamentary legislation. It is just for the attorney general and executive arm.
“It can be executed so that certain courts can be designated for maritime offences, so that these cases can be expeditiously executed,” he said.