The federal government has called for the speedy dispensation of cases concerning the maritime industry in order to have a vibrant sector.
The call was made by the minister of state for transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, at the international maritime seminar for judges organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking at the function, the minister said, “the importance of speedy and efficient dispensation of maritime matters by the courts can never be over-emphasized because, as we all know, in international commercial transactions, time is money and it is even more so in a multi-billion dollar industry like ours.”
Also speaking on the seminar, the minister said, “I must commend the sustainability of the partnership between the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and National Judicial Institute which dates back to 1995. This strategic partnership stemmed from the recognition of the need to specially furnish our judicial officers with the requisite knowledge to assist them in facilitating expeditious dispensation of justice in maritime causes in our courts.
“The lacuna created by the low penetration level in maritime law at the undergraduate levels of our universities, coupled with the fast pace of development in international trade, exerts a lot of strain on our judicial officers some of whom are confronted with this special area of the law for the first time when admiralty matters are brought before their courts for adjudication.
“It is therefore commendable that this seminar has created a veritable forum where prominent jurists and legal luminaries come together to rub minds on how to enhance the competitiveness and economic viability of our maritime industry, not only through the capacity building of the judicial officers, but indeed also in tackling some of the crucial issues on the front burner of maritime discourse both locally and globally.
“This will no doubt increase the confidence of investors in the industry, since it is obvious that an efficient, lucid, predictable and stable legal system plays a very significant role in attracting investors.
“It is worth mentioning that this seminar series have contributed immensely in charting the policy direction of government in the maritime sector. I am happy to state that government will continue to rely on the important outcomes of this forum for policy enunciation.”
While speaking at the function, the chairman of the occasion, Hon. Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour of the Supreme Court, said the seminar provides a specialised form for the judicial officers to be equipped with requisite skill and knowledge as a means to an efficient and effective judicial resolution of maritime cases.
He stated that “the judiciary as we all know, is the lifeline of democratic societies. The need to strengthen our respective judiciary cannot be overemphasized. A strong and independent judiciary, which practices international best standards, promote stability, protects rights, and guarantees fair and expeditious outcomes.
“Judiciary’s importance pertains to the political and social life of the people and acts as a catalyst for economic change and development of a nation. An effective judicial system is a key pillar of an efficient economy and plays a vital role in a nation’s economic performance.”