By Godwin Oritse
MARITIME stakeholders have commended the recently assented Anti-piracy law saying that the law will further boost the economic fortunes of the nation when it finally comes on stream.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report, at the reception in honour of the former Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, the Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, MAN, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, Commodore Emmanuel Effedua, said that the absence of a strong law to tackle the sea robbers has been the reason for the government’s inability to arrest and prosecute the criminals.
He said: “When this law comes into play, you will be surprised that piracy will be reduced by over 80 per cent. It will help launder the image of the country because the International Maritime Organization, IMO, looks at us as not being serious about the fight against piracy.
“We will be more respected now because in the Gulf of Arden, in India Ocean, a lot of pirate activities go on there but somehow they get the support of the Western world but in the Gulf of Guinea, they do not really pay much attention. All they do is to criticize. So all we are asking them is that the same attention they are paying to the Gulf of Arden, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Eden, they should do the same in our own coast because these pirates are opportunists, they look for windows and they take advantage”
Similarly, Mrs Funmi Folorunsho, Secretary-General of the African Shippers Association, described the law as brilliant and laudable. She explained that any legal framework put in place to checkmate the menace of pirates is a good step adding that to make it effective, the law will not be enough adding that implementation must be upheld when need be.
Emeka Akabogu, the maritime a lawyer, said that the anti-piracy law is a positive development adding that it was important to ensure that a lot more efforts are made in the maritime security architecture chain with a view to reducing the rate of pirate attacks on vessels.
Akabogu explained that before now, a lot of criminal activities had become a concern for both the government and maritime stakeholders.
He said that implementation of the law was dependent on having the infrastructure and assets backing to ensure that the implementers of the law are able to identify and checkmate these criminals.