…Maritime sector key to Nigeria’s economic revival says Dogara.
….Pledges Commitment to Passing Suppression of Piracy and other unlawful
Acts at Sea Bill
The Speaker of the House of Representatives , Hon Yakubu Dogara, has
expressed dismay that Illegal Unreported and Unregulated ( IUU ) fishing
leads to an annual loss of over 1.3 billion dollars in West Africa alone.
This is just as he pledged the commitment of the National Assembly to
continue to be active in passing legislations that will make Nigeria’s
seas and waterways safer for exploration and exploitation of its natural
resources for the benefit of Nigerians.
Speaking while delivering a goodwill message at the annual conference of
the Association of African Maritime Administrators in Abuja, the Speaker
said, “Statistics has it that Illegal Unreported and Unregulated ( IUU )
fishing leads to a loss of over 1.3 billion dollars in West Africa alone,
“We must tighten the legal and regulatory framework to stop these losses.
We must intensify efforts to promote intra- African trade in fisheries as
statistics also show that Pan-African fish trade is worth about 20 billion
euros. This will help to sustain African economies in the long term.”
He added, “We as a parliament have been at the forefront of legislation on
maritime issues in the past and are currently, actively involved in
processing legislations in the maritime sector. The House of
Representatives of Nigeria only last week passed the National Transport
Commission Bill which it is hoped would have a huge impact on the maritime
sector especially with respect to economic regulation of activities of
operators and agencies in our maritime sector.”
The Speaker also gave the commitment of the National Assembly to give
speedy legislative action to the proposed Bill for an Act to provide for
the Suppression of Piracy and other unlawful Acts at Sea (and other
related offences) and urged the executive to transmit it, and other IMO
conventions to the National Assembly.
“The Bill, when passed, is expected to “give expression to relevant
Conventions, Treaties and Charters on safety and security and further
strengthen Nigeria’s desire to make its waters safe”, according to the
promoters of the Bill. The bill is in the court of the Executive at the
the moment and we await its transmission as an Executive Bill for
legislative processing into law. The Executive should also use the
opportunity to transmit other IMO Conventions and Protocols that have been
acceded to by Nigeria, for domestication by the National Assembly,” the
Furthermore, he charged African maritime organisations to change the
present situation where Africans do not benefit from the abundance of
natural resources in its seas and waterways.
Dogara said this is attainable only if the era of paying lip service to
producing indigenous skilled sea men and women and indigenous fleet owners
is replaced with one in which conscious and practical actions are taken
towards achieving the goal.
“Permit me to awake our conscience, even if it amounts to a rebuke, to
the fact that the days of paying lip service to the emergence of, skilled
indigenous seamen and sea women and indigenous fleet owners, not vessel
owners, are well over. A strong man lifts the cargo he generates,
therefore Africa must possess the capacity to lift the cargo it generates,
be they dry or wet, if it must qualify as a strong maritime continent. The
goal of this conference must not be the sustainable use of African oceans
and seas by non Africans but by Africans first and then others. I know of
very few curses greater than for one to make his bed and for another to
lie on it. Therefore, my charge to you administrators, is to ensure that
as you make this bed, you will also be making Africans who must lie on it.
The Speaker also stated that Nigeria’s economic revival can be achieved
through the exploration and exploitation of Africa’s vast ocean resources,
while noting that sadly, developing countries have not benefitted from the
potentials the resources the seas have to offer while developed countries
have done well in exploiting these resources.
“Developed countries have done a better job of exploiting these
resources. We in Africa need to do much more to use these God given
resources to feed our people, fight poverty and develop efficient ports
and effectively administer the waters of the Seas. We can create high
paying jobs for our teeming youths, develop an efficient transportation
system, exploit efficiently the oil and gas resources and other minerals
contained in the deep seas and oceans of Africa. Nigeria is potentially a
major maritime power considering the depth and breadth of our Exclusive
Economic Zone and Territorial waters, and can do even more to efficiently
and effectively make sustainable use of the Oceans and Seas,” he
Speaking on some of the potentials, Dogara, added that fishing is one of
the major economic activities of most maritime communities all over Africa
and sustainable development of the local fisheries sector has the capacity
to improve food security and lift people out of poverty and hunger.
“Fisheries and aquaculture provide jobs for millions of people including
our women and youths,” he said, adding, “as a maritime nation, Nigeria has
a responsibility together with other nations and international
organisations, like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), to make
our waters safe and secure.”
“It is as a result that the Legislature in Nigeria has been very active in
maritime related legislations over the years. In 2007, the National
Assembly of Nigeria, created the Nigeria Maritime Administration and
Safety Agency (NIMASA) from the old National Maritime Authority (NMA) and
amended the 1962 Merchant Shipping Act and empowered NIMASA to administer
Furthermore, the National Assembly has domesticated twelve very important
Maritime Safety and Security Conventions of the IMO which are necessary
for safeguarding security and safety in our region. It has also
domesticated the International Ships and Port Facility Security (ISPS)
Code, which is a very important IMO Convention instrument for safety and
security at Nigerian ports as part of its Ports State duties. The Nigerian
parliament has also domesticated eight important Conventions and Protocols
on marine environment geared towards a clean, safe and secure marine
environment,” Dogara said.
He also added that the parliament will actively participate in the
discussion of maritime security, safety, administration and development in
line with the impact of Climate Change and the possibility of developing a
blue economy following the Paris Convention on Climate Change.
“Nigeria and indeed Africa cannot be left behind. We shall play our own
part as when it is brought before us in due course,” he stated.