Navy to partner with judiciary on criminal justice

By Eme Offiong, Calabar

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Agencies responsible for the administration of criminal justice have been urged to collaborate with stakeholders in Nigeria maritime environment to tackle challenges in the sector.

Rear Admiral David Adeniran, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command made the call at a law seminar held at the commands auditorium in Calabar, Cross River State, southern Nigeria.

Adeniran said that the seminar had the theme ‘Improving Criminal Justice Administration in Eastern Naval Command Area of Responsibility: A panacea for strengthening Civil-Military Relationship.’

According to him, ”the seminar was borne out of the need for the Nigerian Navy and in particular, the Eastern Naval Command to address pertinent challenges bedeviling the success of our maritime operations.”

”One of the pillars upon which successful maritime operations rest is a strong civil-military relations. A weakened civil-military relations complicates military operation,” Adeniran stated.

Challenges
He stressed that the command was faced with the challenge of congested jetties and bases littered with barges, vessels, trucks and drums arrested for involvement in illegalities within Nigerian waters.

”It is necessary that all agencies responsible for the administration of criminal justice sit with all stakeholders in Nigeria’s maritime environment with the objectives of understanding and addressing the issues at stake,” he said.

Adeniran argued that the seminar would harmonise the tasks of the maritime stakeholder towards achieving the common goal, which is to rid the domain of illegalities and crimes.

Rule of Law
The Cross River Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu, who declared the event open, urged the Nigerian Navy and other maritime stakeholders to sustain the synergy with the judiciary to reduce illegalities along the nations waterways.

Esu stated; ”this event is significant considering that the rule of law is of paramount importance in a democratic dispensation. The Nigerian maritime environment has been challenged by threat posed by criminal activities such as crude oil theft, illegal refining of crude oil, illegal bunkering, smuggling and piracy.

”An event of this nature organised by a military establishment like the Eastern Naval Command to seek avenues that would foster civil-military relationship in combating this threat is indeed a step in the right direction.”

”I believe the seminar would go a long way in addressing these identified challenges and enhance understanding among stakeholders towards improving security on our waterways. 

“The Cross River State Government will continue to support the Eastern Naval Command and by extension, the Nigerian Navy as best as we can in its quest to reduce criminality along our waterways,” the Deputy Governor promised.

Highlight of the seminar were the presentation of papers on Criminal Justice Administration in Nigeria: Maritime Environment in Perspective; Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Vessels/Suspects for Maritime Crime: Challenges and Way Forward and ‘Environmental Degradation in the Maritime Environment: An Appraisal of the Activities of Illegal Refineries’.

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere