By Godwin Oritse
NIGERIA currently falls foul of international maritime convention following the non-domestication of these conventions in its municipal laws.
Disclosing this at the just concluded international seminar for maritime judges held in Abuja, a maritime lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr. Mike Igbokwe, said that non-domestication of these conventions is an offense in itself being committed by Nigeria.
Igbokwe who commented on a paper titled “Piracy and armed robbery at sea: Judicial interpretation and economic implication” and presented by Executive Director, Center for Maritime Law and Security, Africa, in Accra, Ghana, Igbokwe said that if Nigeria do not comply, whenever there is a disagreement between it and another contracting party, that aggrieved party could sue Nigeria.
He was of the opinion that if Nigeria was not ready to domesticate these conventions in its local laws, it should not have signed these treaties or conventions.
He warned that any further delay to legislate on some of these bills particularly the Suppression of Piracy bill, will adversely affect the Nigerian shipping industry and consequently slow down economic growth.
“We cannot continue like this because the world will not wait for us.
“If I do not use this opportunity to once again appeal to President Mohammadu Buhari in whose custody the Suppression of Piracy Bill is currently, to quickly cause same to be sent to the National Assembly and upon receipt, the National Assembly should quickly pass it into an Act
“This call is being made not only because as the elections of 2019 are fast approaching after politicians and law makers have gotten busy with campaigns, they hardly have time to enact laws and the bill may end up awaiting the next legislative session which would be disastrous.
Most importantly, if drastic actions are not taken by African States to ratify or accede to the applicable treaties, domesticate them and use them as one of the weapons for suppressing or curbing piracy and armed robbery at sea, these crimes would destroy the economies and security of African States.
“If Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea States do not kill piracy and armed robbery at sea, piracy and armed robbery at sea will kill Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea”.