The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Wali has applauded the Nigerian government for its leadership role in curbing maritime crimes following the country’s first-ever successful prosecution of piracy, first in Africa.
Wali gave the commendation in New York, also stated that the successful partnership between the UNODC and the Nigerian government has encouraged the UNODC to extend its collaboration beyond national governments to regional organizations.
This was disclosed on Thursday by Head, Strategic Communication, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Zakari Usman titled, ‘UN commends Nigeria over the first-ever successful of conviction of piracy in Africa.’
The statement reads in parts, “Indeed, one of the gaps identified by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the fight against maritime crimes was the weak legal and institutional framework for prosecuting offenders. In response, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, on June 24, 209, assented to the Suppression of the Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (POMO) Bill.
“By the POMO Act, Nigeria became the first country in the West and Central African sub-regions to promulgate a stand-alone law against piracy.
“The Act also domesticates, as required, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982 and the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA), 1988.”
According to reports, the federal government of Nigeria secured the successful prosecution of 10 pirates in July 2021, the first time anywhere in Africa.
The Nigerian government also prioritized maritime intelligence, for example, in 2021 President Buhari commissioned a state-of-the-art Falcon Maritime Intelligence Facility located at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja.
According to the statement, “The setup and operationalization of the project were facilitated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) as part of efforts to boost Nigeria’s overall maritime security architecture, in accordance with the National Security Strategy (NSS), 2019.
“Under this strategy, kidnapping of oil workers, sea robbery/piracy, incessant problems of crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, hostage-taking, and maritime terrorism are classified as national security threats.
“The commendation by UNODC, therefore, places enormous responsibility on Nigeria to continue to lead innovative efforts towards the fight against maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea and across the continent, especially in the areas of intelligence sharing and coordinated legal strategy.”
The statement also encouraged all stakeholders to continue to set high standards in order to prevent and prosecute maritime crimes.