By Joseph Erunke
The Nigerian Navy has advocated the establishment of a special court to try maritime offences, saying it was necessary to expeditiously dispense maritime cases.
The position of the service came as it said lack of enough ships to cover Nigeria’s waters was in no small measures, affecting the war against maritime crimes in the country.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, addressing speaking at a press conference held at the close of the three-day Global Maritime Conference in Abuja, particularly appealed that certain courts in the country be designated to maritime court to handle maritime cases.
Represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Enwo, Ibas said the reasoned that designation of some court to try maritime crimes may not require legislation.
According to him,”It is just for the Attorney-General of the Federation and the executive arm to execute it.
Regretting that maritime related cases were not being given expeditious treatment as they deserve, he said, “Certain courts can be designated for maritime offences so that these (maritime cases) can be expeditiously executed.”
He added: “It is not easy to keep a ship, you need to maintain her so that she doesn’t go down the sea and become a wreck which is another problem.”
He said the increasing cases of illegal maritime activities in the country’s waters had given concern, a development he said, had caused many to believed that the criminality was an internationally organized crime.
“That (organized crime ) is our suspicion and that is exactly what it is. And that is why forum like this is also to let the international community know that they should also discourage their own people from participating in this kind of illegality and that is why one of the recommendations clearly stated that we should designate it same status as blood diamonds, maybe blood fish or bad fish.”
Recall that the three-day event which started on Monday, was at the instance of insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea region.
Stakeholders and maritime security experts converged on Abuja for the event to find a workable solution to the development.