• Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Legislators Pledge Swift Overhaul Of NIMASA, Fisheries Acts For Blue Economy Enhancement

In a proactive move toward optimizing the vast potential of Nigeria’s marine and blue economy sector for socio-economic development, the House of Representatives, through its Committee on Maritime Safety, Education, and Administration, has pledged to expedite the review of critical legislations, particularly the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act and the Fisheries Act.

Recall that Hybrid News had once reported that the cost of inaction against Illegal, Uregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing is severe, leading to depleted fish stocks, habitat destruction, and substantial economic losses for Nigeria. It noted that collective responsibility is crucial, involving government agencies, local communities, and international partners. Investing in resources, promoting sustainable practices, and taking proactive measures are imperative to safeguard Nigeria’s marine resources and ensure a sustainable future for coastal communities. The report also added that the urgency to act is paramount to prevent further degradation of Nigeria’s marine environment.

However, during a workshop convened in Lagos on Friday, the House Committee engaged in discussions with NIMASA, focusing on identifying legislative gaps and formulating measures to harness the nation’s maritime and blue economy potential.

Hon. Uduak Odudoh, the Deputy Chairman of the House Committee, assured Nigerians of the committee’s commitment to crafting laws that foster the rapid growth of the blue economy. He emphasized the importance of ongoing collaboration and dialogue to fully comprehend the legislative needs of the maritime administration, safety, and education sectors.

“As a committee, we are going back to do meetings with the documents that have been presented. We have discovered a lot today from the workshop, but we intend to do it again to enable us to fully capture what to do as legislators for the maritime administration, safety, and education,” stated Hon. Uduak Odudoh.

Highlighting the outdated laws and pending bills awaiting presidential assent, the committee expressed the intent to establish sub-committees, ensuring comprehensive coverage and expertise in addressing legislative challenges.

Jean Chiazor Anishere (SAN), the Principal Partner at Jean-Chiazor and Partners, contributed legal insights during the conference, emphasizing the urgency of reviewing the NIMASA Act. She pointed out the existing accountability structure, wherein NIMASA still reports to the Transportation Minister, despite the creation of a dedicated Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

Anishere also underscored the need for a thorough review of the Fisheries Act, calling attention to its outdated provisions and the absence of legal protection against illegal fisheries or imported fisheries. She proposed the establishment of a unified department, involving various regulatory bodies, to facilitate the lawful and cohesive exploitation of marine resources.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, presented an overview of the agency’s organizational structure and its role in the 3S tripod—Maritime Safety, Maritime Security, and Shipping Development. He emphasized the crucial linkages between the blue economy and various industries contributing to national development.

Dr. Bashir Jamoh highlighted the positive impact of the Deep Blue Project and collaboration with the Nigerian Navy in reducing piracy and maritime crimes. He reported a significant decline in piracy cases, attributing the success to the effective implementation of the Deep Blue Project, resulting in only one piracy case as of May 2022, compared to 35 incidents in 2020 and 2019.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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