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*Agency Vital Organ of Economic Development – Court of Appeal President

The Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2019, is producing a better appreciation of Nigeria’s determination to end piracy and sea robbery in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea. Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this at the maiden edition of the Nigerian Admiralty Law Colloquium organised in Lagos by the Agency, in collaboration with the National Judicial Institute (NJI).

President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, lauded NIMASA as a key organ of economic development, saying the admiralty law conferences introduced by the Agency are helping to streamline application of the antipiracy law.

The colloquium had the theme, “Achieving Maritime Safety, Security and Shipping Development (TRIPOD S) through Enforcement of Legislations and the Implementation of the Deep Blue Project: The Role of the Judiciary and State Actors.”

Jamoh said the admiralty law conference, in its 10th edition this year, had achieved significant milestones in the continued effort to better maritime law administration in Nigeria. But the meeting was renamed this year to reflect current challenges and widen the scope of participation, he stated.

Jamoh stated, “The Admiralty Law Conference instituted by NIMASA has achieved important milestones in the pursuit of its target of continuously improving maritime law administration in Nigeria. I am happy to announce that the key recommendations captured in the communiqué of last year’s conference would be sent to the National Assembly for the necessary legislative actions expected to improve the SPOMO Act.

“We have made good progress in the implementation of the SPOMO Act. We have secured convictions at the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and Lagos, and more judgements are expected next month.

“These prosecutions and convictions have greatly helped to improve Nigeria’s image in the international community by producing a better appreciation of the country’s role and determination to end piracy and other maritime crimes in its territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea.”

The NIMASA Director-General also spoke on the adjustment in the name of the maritime law sessions, saying it is prompted by the need to bring on board a wider range of stakeholders, including Supreme Court justices.

“From next year, Supreme Court justices and more lawyers would be included in the continuous attempt to fine tune the processes and procedures of justice administration in maritime issues,” Jamoh stated.

President of the Court of Appeal said NIMASA was “a vital organ in the economic development of Nigeria.” She said the maritime sector was indispensable, and being global in nature, “Informed knowledge of the law in the global environment” was necessary in efforts to advance the sector.

“What touches this sector should be treated with great care,” Dongban-Mensem stated.

The admiralty law sessions had for the first time this year the President of the Court of Appeal in attendance. Others in attendance included Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Hon. Justice Rosaline Bozimo, who was represented by a Director in the institute, Olumo Abdulazeez; Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), Professor Muhammed Tawfiq Ladan; and Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, represented by Justice Ayokunle Faji.

The admiralty law seminar was instituted by NIMASA in 2009 for judges in pursuit of the agency’s broad mandate to promote the development of shipping and capacity building in the maritime sector. The initial target was judges of the Federal High Court, who have exclusive jurisdiction over admiralty matters under Section 25| (l) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria I999 (as amended). The scope was later expanded to include judges of the State High Court of the littoral states. It was further enlarged to include justices of the Court of Appeal, due to their strategic role in the dispensation of justice.

Plans have been concluded to include justices of the Supreme Court in future editions of the colloquium.

The Ninth Strategic Admiralty Law Seminar for Judges last year was themed, “Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act, 2019: Key to Accelerating and Achieving Safe and Secure Shipping in Nigeria.”

Economy, FEATURES, Government
*Criticizes vaccine nationalism, advocates fairer global cooperation
*VP Adds: Why Dangote, Bua, Transcorp others are investing in Nigeria
*Commends US support for increased access to IMF funds
In building a fairer world that takes into account the interest of the poor, the marginalized, and a world that does not impose unfair burdens on developing countries, the principle of fairness must be applied by leaders in addressing challenges in health, the economy, and other issues, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Wednesday April 14, 2021 at a virtual forum organized by a leading American Christian University, Liberty University with the theme “Equity for Africa: Transforming the World through Judeo-Christian Values,” and hosted by the university’s School of Business.
According to the Vice President, “the principle of fairness obliges us as people of faith, to strive to build a fairer world, a world which takes account of the interests of the poor and marginalised. It means a world that does not impose unfair burdens on developing countries when global cooperation is required. For example, if you look at what is happening with COVID-19 and access to vaccines, what we are seeing is export bans and a resort to vaccine nationalism.”
The Vice President said “Christian leaders must lead the world towards ensuring that all countries and their peoples can access vaccines irrespective of the resources available to them. The same considerations apply to helping African countries cope with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.”
He restated his earlier call on some multilateral agencies planning to de-fund gas projects to review their position noting that “it is worrisome and should be dropped and we would call on people of conscience and faith to put a stop to this trend that can undermine the sense of collective responsibility we all have towards mitigating climate change.”
His words: “One issue that is emerging as a major concern in terms of equity and fairness is the process of reaching a just transition towards a low-carbon economy. Africa including Nigeria has abundant gas resources and gas is cleaner by far than crude oil and it derivatives.
“Gas has an important contribution to make in our economies in terms of transportation and even in terms of cooking to replace coal and kerosene.”
Speaking about the prospects for greater advancement in Africa, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “there is no gainsaying that in order for Africa to actualize its potential, it must work with friends especially those of faith to identify strategic opportunities to bring about growth and prosperity in the continent.”
Referring specifically to investment potentials in Nigeria, the Vice President said “investing in Nigeria also offers a pathway to partaking in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will create a market in goods and services for up to 1.3 billion people.”
Continuing he said “it is also a pathway to using the provisions of the African Growth and Opportunity Act to produce goods that can then be exported into the United States under preferential terms.
“The opportunities are vast and it is not surprising that Nigerian business leaders who know the country well and appreciate its economic dynamics are making big investments in oil and gas, in agriculture and food processing, in telecommunications, in power generation, in technology and in the hospitality and creative sectors.”
Citing example of some investments, the Vice President said “Dangote Group is building a 650,000 barrel a day refinery while the BUA Group has also initiated an investment in 200,000 barrel a day refinery. In the same vein, Azura, Transcorp and several other power companies have made large and significant investments.”
 “In the digital technology space, Paystack, a Nigerian fintech Start-up was recently acquired by Stripe, the US-based firm for $200m while similarly impactful investment has also been made by large global technology firms. Microsoft has set up its African Development Centre in Lagos, Facebook has located its Africa Hub in Lagos where the Google Developer Space is also located,” Prof. Osinbajo added.
While commending the United States Government for its stand on the IMF Special Drawing Rights, the Vice President said “the increase in Special Drawing Rights at the IMF which will give more liquidity to developing countries and we do hope that the IMF Board will move speedily in this regard.”
The Special drawing rights (SDRs) are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.
Participants at the forum included some Nigerian Governors, Mr Samuel Ortom of Benue State, and Mr Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Dean of the Liberty University School of Business, former Congressman David Brat, business leaders across the US, among others.

Economy, ICT
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in line with its tradition of exploring avenues to engage with telecom consumers, has taken advantage of the opportunity of this year’s edition of the Enugu International Trade Fair to enlighten telecom consumers on their rights and privileges within the telecommunications sector.

Addressing a large audience of telecom consumers during the NCC Special Day held at recently-concluded 32nd Enugu International Trade Fair organised by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said events of this nature provide the opportunity for NCC, as a telecom regulator, to interact with consumers and attend to their service-related concerns.

In attendance at the NCC Special Day were the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde; Director, Consumer Affairs, Mr. Efosa Idehen; Zonal Controller, NCC Enugu Zonal Office, Mr. Ogbonnaya Ugama, and executive members of ECCIMA.

Represented by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Danbatta, who spoke around the theme of the Fair: “Promoting New Technologies, Business Ideas and Strategies for Rapid Economic Growth and Development in Nigeria,” highlighted some of the regulatory initiatives emplaced by the Commission for protecting, informing and educating the consumers.

These initiatives include the NCC Emergency Toll-free Number 112; the NCC Consumer Complaint Toll-Free Number 622; the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Short Code 2442, the Regulation on Forceful Subscription and measures put in place to check cases of pre-registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.
Danbatta emphasised the importance of the ongoing National Identity Number (NIN)-SIM data linkage exercise, in order to ensure credible citizen database for improved national security.

He stressed the need for consumers to be cybersecurity-conscious while online and to always ensure efficient management of e-waste for a safer environment, noting that this year’s World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), which was observed on March 15, 2021 focused on ‘Tackling Plastic Pollution’ in line with the e-Waste Regulation being pursued by the Commission.

Danbatta praised the efforts of Chamber at sustaining the Fair over the years, pointing out that it remains the largest and most important business event South-East of the country. “The Fair is pivotal to bolstering the economic and industrial transformation of the region in view of its enormous business potential,” Danbatta said.

In attendance during the NCC Day at the Fair were Executive members of the ECCIMA. Earlier in his welcome address, the President of the Chamber, Emeka Nwandu, who was represented by the Chamber’s Deputy President, Jasper Nduagwuike, extolled the role of the Chamber in the facilitation and promotion of robust exchange of business engagements in the South-East region of the country over the years through various initiatives, such as the Trade Fair.

During an interactive executive session with the ECCIMA executives at the Commission’s pavilion, Adinde and Idehen fielded questions ranging from consumer complaints management, the recent Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) policy, NIN-SIM linkage exercise and other industry-related issues.

The event attracted many multinational, international and national exhibitors, who took advantage of the Fair to reach out to their customers in the South-East and South-South zones of the country.
The NCC has, over the years, been a regular participant at international trade fairs across the country and has been consistent in its participation at the Enugu International Trade Fair.

Economy, Finance
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) on Monday rated Lagos State as the seventh fastest growing city in the world, with highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in Nigeria.
The commission also noted that out of the 36 states and FCT, Lagos state had N398.7 billion IGR as of 2018, N1.2 trillion budget in 2020 and N5 trillion households consumption in 2019.
Ms Yewande Sadiku, NIPC’s Executive Secretary, disclosed this in Abuja at the formal launch of its ‘Book of States’ by Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo.
The ‘Book of States ‘ is a compendium of competitive advantages and key investment opportunities in each state, to enable investors appreciate the investment potentials in Nigeria.
Sadiku, while presenting the document highlighted various investment opportunities and comparative advantages across the 36 states and FCT to attract potential investors as captured in the document.
According to her, Lagos has the largest concentration of young, skilled and educated workforce including largest tourism and entertainment industry in Africa as well as best city for start-ups in Africa.
Sadiku stated that the project which produced by NIPC in conjunction with the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) was a means to sell Nigeria by highlighting the uniqueness of each of the 36 states and the FCT.
The NIPC boss equally highlighted the competitive advantages of some states including Bauchi, Ekiti, Enugu, Kano, Sokoto and Taraba.
She stated that Bauchi State had N11.7 billion IGR in 2019 with over 4.2m ha of arable land with 2.4m ha untapped adding that it spanned two ecological zones (Sudan and Sahel Savannah).

According to the NIPC boss, Bauchi has high deposit of solid minerals such as gold, titanium, limestone, kaolin and zinc with tourism potentials.
She described Ekiti which has N8.5 billion IGR as the knowledge capital of Nigeria due to the history of producing a disproportionately high number of professors and academics.
“It has a knowledge focused Special Economic Zone and special agricultural processing zone with arable land and irrigation facilitate. It produces cocoa, kolanut, timber, granite among others.
“Sokoto State has rich fertile soil for cultivation of many crops, the largest limestone reserves in Africa, largest phosphate deposits in Nigeria, and is endowed with gold, Nickel, copper and zinc.
“It ranks second in livestock production in Nigeria and is also a major producer of rice, onions, garlic and sesame, and possesses hydro (Goronyo), solar, wind, biomass and gas potentials.
“Enugu State houses the only international airport in the South East of Nigeria, presence of multiple Free Trade Zones in the state, large aggregation of technology, innovation and start-up hubs.
“It has over 16 universities and tertiary institutions, abundant coal, iron ore, limestone, etc, deposits, and a strategic gateway between the agricultural belt of the North and the manufacturing hubs of the South,” she noted.
Sadiku further stated that Kano State had N40.6 billion IGR, largest labour force in Nigeria, major commercial and manufacturing centre in West African Sub-Region and rich cultural and heritage values.
She also said that Taraba which had the largest tea farm in Nigeria was endowed with mineral resources while its IGR was N6.5 billion in 2019.
She noted that the ‘Book of States’ was just one, out of many efforts to promote investment opportunities in the country, adding that the commission was working on other plans.
“The investment passport is another document that will identify, and will be useful in promoting the investment opportunities in the states.
“This is the next thing we are working on along with profiling of specific investment opportunities of each state,” she said.

Agriculture, Economy
The Lagos State Government(LASG) has called for private sector’s investment and collaboration in its agriculture sector particularly in the Red Meat , Artisanal Fisheries and Livestock Feed Mills value chains.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, stated this in a press statement she issued to newsmen in Lagos on Sunday.
She said that the collaboration was in line with the state government’s five-year strategic agriculture roadmap.
She noted that the state government had identified many areas of investment opportunities for the private sector’s participants, particularly, in the three value chains, hence, the need for the collaboration.
According to her, this partnership will increase production in the value chains, stimulate jobs across the value chains, standardise operations in the value chains as well as enhance the GDP of the state.
She said that this was in line with the state government’s five-year strategic agriculture roadmap which had identified many areas of investment opportunities for private sector participants.
“The objective is to stimulate and encourage more public-private partnerships in the three value chains” she added
According to her, Lagos state is the largest market in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 22million population, we consume food well worth over N5trillion annually and over N8bilion on a monthly basis.
“When you consider this pool of transaction happening in Lagos, it shows that we are the market,” she said.
Olusanya said that the transactional value for cattle alone in Lagos is worth N328billion.

She added that when the red meat transformation agenda comes fully into play, it would help the State Government eliminate logistics costs of transporting cattle.
She also stated that the state was working on harnessing other sectors where it has comparative advantages to further grow its economy with emphasis on the artisanal fisheries sector.
According to her, we may be a very small state, but we are still agrarian; the value chain of comparative advantage to us is fisheries.
“It means that we can begin to harness potential around the fisheries sector. Lagos has over 22 per cent of the water bodies in Nigeria.
“For instance, we demand over 400,000 metric tons of fish on an annual basis.
“But our fishermen and our aquaculture farmers are only able to produce just about 174,000 metric tons with deficit of 200,000 metric tons.
She said that when you look at the artisanal fisheries sector, there are about 9,000 artisanal fishermen in Lagos.
She said that the state was trying to bring in the youth into this space to increase the numbers of fishermen.
“This will increase the level of fish and seafood being harnessed from our water bodies. Looking at the transactional value on an annual basis, the fisheries sector is worth well over N120billion.”
She noted that there were no fewer than five zones with about 109 fish landing sites where artisanal fishermen from the State engage in their trade on a daily basis.

“We are engaging them more, which is why we have partnered with some financial institutions to register them and generate Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) and account numbers for them” she added
She advised that the fishermen should begin to key into the CBN funding schemes such as the anchor borrowers’ programme and the likes, she said.
She noted that a lot needed to be done around the livestock sector as well, to draw in more private sector’s participants that can play on a commercial scale.