By Gift Chapi Odekina
The Bill for an Act to establish Nigerian Maritime Security Trust Fund and other matters related thereto (2020), passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The bill which was passed during Wednesday plenary in Abuja was further referred to the relevant committee for final legislative inputs.
Leading debate on the second reading, which received unanimous endorsement of the lawmakers present, sponsor of the Bill, Rep. Yusuf Gagdi, who Chairs the House Committee on Navy, said the general principle of the bill was to provide for the establishment of a special fund for training and retraining of naval personnel for optimum productivity, as well as funding for equipment and machineries that will aid the seamless protection of the country’s waterways by the Nigerian Navy, thereby guaranteeing a robust economic development of the country.
According to Gagdi, since the mainstay of Nigerian economy (oil) is majorly sourced and moved through the waterways, while the largest chunk of our import and export of other goods are carried out through the seas, it was imperative that the Nigerian Navy is sufficiently equipped and routinely trained to curb the excesses of pirates, oil bunkerers and other illegal activities on our waterways that hamper our economic development.
Noting the importance of the Bill, all contributors to the debate lend their voices to the establishment of the fund, and urge the House to pass the bill into law without any delay.
The bill was first read on 15th March, 2021 and seeks to exist for 8 years from the commencement date of the Act, (when finally passed by the National Assembly and assented to by Mr President), unless it is further extended by an Act of the National Assembly.
The bill if passed into law will add value to the economic development of the country and national security.