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By: Timothy Paul Okorocha 

The Minister, Maritime and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, MON

The 17th International maritime seminar for judges kicked off today in Abuja drawing the high and the mighty, cutting across the judiciary, government functionaries as well as that of maritime industry stakeholders.

Monitor Maritime and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, MON told the August gathering that the International maritime seminar for judges remains a veritable gathering to exchange ideas, improve the knowledge of judges as well as help to promote international maritime trade.

As many of you are now aware, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and the National Judicial Institute have been actively collaborating since 1995 when the first seminar was held, with the objective of educating and providing the Justices and Judges of our superior courts with Knowledge of the contemporary development in the complex and dynamic subject of admiralty law and practice, as it affects the administration of justice in Nigeria.

Executive Secretary of Nigeria Shippers Council, Barrister Akuta exchanging pleasantries with a guest

The maritime sector is a complex and dynamic field that necessitates comprehensive legal and regulatory systems.

As Justices/Judges, your role is indispensable in interpreting and applying maritime law to resolve disputes, uphold international standards, and promote justice.

The Minister said this seminar is a vital platform for exchanging knowledge, sharing best practices, and addressing the evolving legal issues that impact our maritime domain. Some of the topics for discussion at this seminar critically examine some current and topical issues in international maritime law.

Similarly, the topic on trade facilitation and Alternative Dispute Resolution are not only relevant but are indeed germane in international trade facilitation.

Maritime law is not just about resolving conflicts at sea; it is about safeguarding the rights and responsibilities of nations, corporations, and individuals. It ensures the protection of the marine environment, the regulation of maritime commerce, and the security of navigation routes. The rule of law in maritime affairs underpins the stability and prosperity of the global economy.

He stressed, ‘My Lords, as guardians of the rule of law, you – the esteemed Judges and Justices gathered here today – play a crucial role in shaping the legal landscape that governs our maritime affairs. Your interpretations, and indeed decisions have far-reaching implications, not only for the businesses and individuals operating in the maritime sector, but also for the long-term sustainability and resilience of our blue economy’.

According to him, since the creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, we have been working assiduously to strengthen the institutional and legal frameworks of the Agencies under the Ministry. In this regard, the Ministry has recently thrown its weight behind the repeal of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Act CAP N113 LFN and the Enactment of the Nigerian Shipping and Port Economic Regulatory Agency Bill, 2024, in order to bring it up to speed with current realities and maximize the gains of the ongoing reforms when it is eventually passed in to law.

Also, to the distinguished Judges from various jurisdictions, we earnestly hope, that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s International Maritime Seminar for Judges will provide a veritable platform for the harmonization and indeed unification of business laws for greater economic integration of our dear African Continent. As you are aware, if our business laws are harmonized it would go a long way in enhancing International investment, reduce transportation and transactional costs and promote the ease of intra and inter African trade which is currently encouraged by African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

He seized the opportunity of this august gathering to solicit for the support of stakeholders and all industry players to give our young Ministry the much needed support in order to succeed in creating a pathway towards diversification of the nation’s economy from oil dependency to non-oil economic prosperity.

Finally, he also stressed that the Federal Government places premium on the outcomes and recommendations of this Seminar. I, therefore, charge all presenters, discussants and participants to discuss all issues dispassionately as the government is ready to look into all recommendations arising from this seminar with a view to implementing them.

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