Operators Kick over Militarisation of Commercial Shipping 

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 The Concerned Maritime Operators in Nigeria (CMON) has called for the immediate halt to the militarization of commercial shipping in the country. To achieve this, it has commenced mobilization of stakeholders for mass action against the apparent hijack of the country’s maritime administration by the armed forces.

 The CMON comprises various associations in the maritime industry, major indigenous shipping companies and stakeholders in the maritime industry.

 In a statement, the group said its main concern was the introduction into the nation’s shipping industry strange laws like those of the Maritime Operation Coordinating Board Act (1992) Section 4a (1, 11 and 4) of the Armed Forces Act (Navy) 1994, and Harmonized Standard Operating Procedures on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Vessel and Person in Nigeria’s Maritime Environment 2016 (HSOP).

 After rising from a stakeholders’ meeting in Apapa, Lagos, recently, resolved to write all operators, regulators and stakeholders in the industry in Nigeria about the militarization acts and sections of laws supporting it.

 Signed by its Coordinating Secretary, Mazi Anabaraonye Ifechukwu Joseph and the Legal Adviser, Mr. David Ehimari Akhalu, the group stated that the section had militarized Nigeria’s maritime industry; hence making Navy the apex regulatory, policy-making and enforcement body to execute the totality of all international maritime regulations and conventions as well as national laws and regulations concerning maritime.

 It described the development as “an aberration to democratic principles, rule of law and the spirit of separation of powers”.

 It also stated that its call was aimed at ensuring that “we have a common front to pursue the repeal of Maritime Operation Commercial Board Act and expunging of section 4a (1, 11 and IV) from the Armed Forces”.