A Bill for an Act to establish Maritime Security Agency on Wednesday, passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
The Bill, sponsored by Rep. Eta Mbora (Cross River-PDP), seeks to enhance security in the country’s waterways.
Leading the debate on the Bill, Mbora said that its essence was to eradicate crime in Nigeria’s costal and maritime environment, create jobs and enhance awareness in the domain.
He said the agency when established would be responsible for providing security, safety, information and communication facilities to different categories of operators in the maritime industry.
Mbora explained that the operation of the agency would not extend to warships, military patrol boats and ships, adding that it would operate in accordance with the International Code of Conduct.
He recalled that the bill was first introduced and passed at the 6th National Assembly but was not assented to by the President.
He urged his colleagues to support the bill considering its relevance in the nation’s maritime industry.
In his contribution, Rep. Lovette Idisi (Delta-PDP) said security on the waterways was crucial, especially with the recent surge in crime rate on the coastal waters.
Idisi said the bill would support existing agencies operating in the area, which had been overstretched.
He pointed out that absence of adequate security on the waterways had given room to criminals using the area for kidnapping and other nefarious activities.
The lawmaker said that the bill would boost economic activities in the waterways, aside from addressing security challenges in the maritime sector.
After the passage of the bill at that level through unanimous voice vote, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Yussuff Lasun, who presided at the plenary, referred it to the Committee on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration. (NAN)