Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
By Barnabas Esiet.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has officially handed over 10 pirates arrested by the Nigerian Navy for prosecution.
In a statement, the Director-General of the Agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the pirates recently attacked and boarded a Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II, off the coast of Côte d’Ivoire and directed it towards Nigerian waters.
The prosecution of the pirates would 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 law made Nigeria the first in West and Central Africa to have a distinct antipiracy legislation.
Dr. Jamoh said the agency would continue to work with relevant agencies and stakeholders to secure the nation’s maritime environment.
The statement attributed the successful operation that led to the arrest of the pirates and rescue of the ship and its crew to collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy.
“The Agency will continue to work with relevant security agencies in order to achieve its goal of eradicating piracy and all forms of illegality on the Nigerian waters.” The statement read.
“There has been a lot of synergy between NIMASA and the Navy with regard to the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act; I also want to seize the opportunity to thank Mr. President for signing the anti-piracy law, which would facilitate sufficient prosecution of these pirates.” The NIMASA boss said.