Ministry Of Justice,Nigerian Navy Sign MOU To Boost Maritime Law, Curb Human Right Abuses
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami(SAN) has reinstated the need for maritime law enforcement agencies to consider human rights and international human rights law in all their engagements with perpetrators of maritime crimes, as well as the victims of these crimes.
Malami made this known during the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Nigerian Navy on Training Cooperation on National Obligations to Regional and International Legal Frameworks in Maritime Engagement in Abuja .
Represented by the Solicitor- General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Justice Dayo Apata explained that all the efforts also help in reducing the national indebtedness and embarrassment from the myriad of law suits and judgments-debts from litigation arising out of violations by the law enforcement agents during maritime engagements.
Malami further explained that Nigeria is a big player in the maritime space and Navy is at the forefront of engagement with persons and vessels in conflict with maritime laws.
According to him Nigeria indeed appreciates the efforts of the Navy in combating all forms of trans-border crimes such as illegal trade in small and light weapons (SALWs); human trafficking fueled by irregular migration and refugee influx from countries of conflicts.
The HAGF noted that it is worthy of note that Maritime Operations, with its 80% global characteristics and participation is guided and protected by international law.
According to him, ‘’the cooperation between the Ministry and the Nigerian Navy has been most cordial and mutually beneficial. I am aware that for the past four years, officers of the Ministry from the International Law Departments as well as the Department of Public Prosecution have provided lectures during the Coordinating Conference of the annual Navy Exercise Obangame’’.
Also he said that the Harmonized Standard Operating Procedures (HSOP) on arrest, detention and prosecution of vessels and persons in Nigeria’s Maritime Environment, 2016 produced through the joint efforts of the Ministry, the Navy and other Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies (MLEA) in Nigeria.
Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekere Ibas in his remarks, said in the interest of the operation of Navy at sea that this Memorandum here has become important and as law abiding citizen it will provide a legal frame work and the International best practices.
Represented by the Chief of Training and Operation of Nigerian Navy Rear Admiral Makanju Kadiri disclosed that their collaboration with the Ministry is to balance the interest use of the sea which is an international practice everywhere in the world.
He further disclosed that collaboration is in the interest of their operation complying with the rule of law and because of this interest in the use of sea, there is need for partnership.
Kadiri pointed out that operationally for them in the Navy, the three cardinal strategies are as follows; Surveillance which means to know what is happening at the sea, actions –responding to what is happening at the sea, and lastly enforcement.
He expressed appreciation to the Ministry for this state of signing the MOU and asked for more collaboration in due course.
Director International and Comparative Law Department, Mrs Stella Anukam explained that the objectives of the MOU is to compile the annual training manual
The SG/PS inaugurated an 8-man committee to coordinate the training programme.