By Chiazo Ogbolu
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have agreed to work closely in developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for Submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Osagie Edward, Assistant Director, Public Relations, NIMASA, on Sunday in Lagos.
The statement said that the officials of the two organisations reached the agreement at a pre-audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.
It quoted the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, who chaired the meeting, as saying that the agency was committed to ease of doing business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria had ratified and domesticated.
Jamoh noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time had come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which may become hazardous to shipping.
“It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters.
“Our focus is to ensure safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.
“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, (UNCLOS).
“We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another Agency starts,” Jamoh said.
He noted that collaboration was a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country.
Jamoh said that NIMASA would work closely with the NCC to achieve this.
The statement also quoted the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, as saying that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation.
He enjoined NIMASA to include the Ministry of Justice in the development of the guidelines, a request granted immediately by Jamoh.
Danbatta was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen.
The statement quoted the Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Mr Dasuki Arabi, as commending NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
It would be recalled that NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of submarine cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting. (NAN)