The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has stated that the Agency is taking deliberate steps to work with the Judiciary and other arms of Government to reposition Nigeria’s maritime industry, by providing necessary updates on information and law in the maritime sector.
However, he was silent on the key functions of the industry which entails disbursement of The Maritime Fund (TMF) and Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), domiciled in the agency in line with the provisions of NIMASA Establishment Act.
Speaking at the opening of the 7th Strategic Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges with the theme “Towards effective Admiralty in a Blue Economy” organised jointly by NIMASA and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS) in Lagos, Peterside was mute on how far the agency has gone in developing indigenous capacities in trans-regional maritime transportation.
Rather, he noted that the Agency is aware of the complex and time sensitiveness of maritime issue and the consequent requirement for prompt resolutions.
According to the NIMASA, the objective of the seminar over the years has been to sensitize the target Judges on contemporary maritime law issues both within and outside the Nigerian Jurisdiction as shipping is a multi-jurisdictional enterprise.
He further added that in line with NIMASA’s commitment towards ensuring capacity building for critical stakeholders, the Agency decided to expand the scope of attendees to cover Justices of the Court of Appeal because of their critical roles in the dispensation of justice.
According to him, “This seminar was initiated by NIMASA for Judges of the Federal High Court bearing in mind the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court over Admiralty matters. Over the years however, the participating audience was expanded to include Judges of the State High Courts of littoral states of the Federation and now Justices of the Court of Appeal because of their critical roles in the dispensation of justice in admiralty matters” he said.
Before the end of last year, several stakeholders in the sector decried the rampant sponsorship of seminars, workshops and talk shops by NIMASA both home and aboard at a time the real issues bordering the industry which include disbursement of the two facilities and working towards empowering shippers to partake in West African regional trading.