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19 May 2020

The Nigerian Anti-Piracy Law in force as NIMASA sets out to Prosecute the 10 Arrested Pirates!

Preceding the successful rescue operation and arrest of the 10 Nigerian pirates on the 16th of May 2020 by the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has announced its decision to prosecute them under the new Anti-Piracy Act.  Dr. Jamoh Bashir, who was represented by the head of Legal Services of the agency, Mr. Victor Egejuru, said this today 19th of May 2020 during the official handover of the pirates by the Nigerian Navy.

Recall, on the 24th of June 2019, the president of Nigeria, his Excellency Muhammed Buhari signed into law the “ Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Bill”  The Act which had NIMASA as one of the key contributors to the bill defines  Piracy and other maritime offences/unlawful acts; punishment upon conviction for maritime crimes amongst other provisions.  The law made Nigeria the first in the West and Central Africa to have distinct antipiracy legislation.
The 10 pirates who hijacked the chinese fishing vessel, MV HAILUFANG II with her 18 crew of different nationalities would be the first to be prosecuted under the Act.  This is as indicated in the Director General’s statement “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 success of the arrest can be attributed to a concerted response by the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA. Bricks gathered that this decision was welcomed by key stakeholders in the industry as it reinforces the commitment of the Nigerian government in the fight against piracy and other maritime offences.