By Tope Alake
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law an anti-piracy bill to improve security on Nigeria waterways and exclusive economic zone, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency said.
The so-called Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Bill will “ensure safe and secure shipping on Nigerian waters, prosecute infractions, and criminalize piracy,” the agency known as NIMASA said in emailed statement Wednesday.
“We are determined to continue to deliver on our promise to investors and the international community to ensure an increasingly safer and more secure environment for profitable maritime business,” NIMASA head Dakuku Peterside said in the statement.
Africa’s biggest country has been a hot spot for piracy incidents over the last 10 years, even though it dropped in the first quarter of 2019, according to the International Maritime Bureau. “Nigerian waters remain risky for vessels,” the the London-based body said in its Q1 report.
The new law provides penalties upon conviction for maritime crimes, restitution to owners of violated maritime assets or forfeiture of proceeds of maritime crimes to the government.