Piracy suppression Bill passes second reading

A Bill seeking for the law that will prescribe specific penalty and possible suppression of sea and river piracy has passed second reading in the Nigerian Senate.

The Bill which is sponsored by Senator Nelson Effiong representing Akwa Ibom South senatorial district, is titled; “A Bill for an Act to make provisions for the suppression of piracy and to provide for punishment for the offence of piracy.”

Passage of the Bill for second reading was done during Wednesday’s plenary session.

According to sections 401 and 402 of the Nigerian criminal code Act, sea piracy is treated as ordinary armed robbery and Senator Effiong believes it is not good for the system.

“The trend in this country had been towards treating criminal acts in specific terms. For example, when we were having problems with corruption we came up with the EFCC Acts to deal with corruption, the same thing with the book haram insurgency, we treated it specifically. And so, I think we should also treat sea piracy as a crime that has to be separated from the normal robbery,” he advocated.

Senator Effiong also stressed the need for adequate protection of Nigeria’s maritime sector in order for it to add optimal value to the economy.

“One of the problems we are having in Nigeria today is that ship owners and consigners of goods are very afraid of sending their ships to the country’s territorial waters, and that has increased the cost of premiums on insurance of the ships, and these costs as you always know are passed on to the final consumers which is you and me, and that makes the product very expensive.”

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who presided over plenary on Wednesday, thereafter referred the Bill to a tripartite committee that includes, the Senate committee on Navy, Judiciary, and Marine transport.

Further legislative work on the Bill will now continue up to the stage of public hearing so that the joint committee can receive inputs from the Nigerian public before the Bill is presented for possible third reading and passage by the Senate.

In another development, a Bill seeking for an Act to establish the chartered institute of fraud examiners, could not pass for second reading after the Senators voted that the Bill be withdrawn because of its duplication to several provisions of the EFCC Act, and the responsibilities of auditing and forensic experts.

Source: Voice of Nigeria