Wrecks pose a real danger to navigational safety and the marine environment and their expeditious removal, control and management is therefore a key concern. The issue of wreck control in Nigeria has been the subject of an increasingly fierce conflict between the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Nigerian Ports Authority.
A tripartite arrangement between the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Customs Service and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) seeks to encourage the expansion of Nigeria's indigenous fleet by creating a special tariff regime for vessel acquisition in the country. According to NIMASA Director General Dakuku Peterside, the high cost of vessel acquisition is gradually driving away many indigenous players in the maritime sector.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has announced a five-year strategic plan to stop the issuance of cabotage waivers. This plan appears to be a tacit admission that the waiver regime – which was intended to be a stop-gap measure pending the development of indigenous capacity – is derailing the country's lofty cabotage goals. Nonetheless, the cessation of the issuance of cabotage waivers represents a significant shift in policy.
After years of inaction and many questions as to why the Nigerian authorities have done nothing to pursue Nigerian wrongdoers in a 21-year corruption case involving oil giant Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited and Italian company ENI SpA, it appears that the Nigerian authorities have finally decided to pursue criminal proceedings against Nigerian parties. In April 2019 the Abuja High Court issued orders for the arrest of former Petroleum Minister Dan Etete Etete and Attorney General Mohammed Bello Adoke.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) recently issued a marine notice to further the Cabotage Act's objectives and to ensure strict compliance. It is expected that this notice would, among other things, ensure greater compliance with the cabotage regime and drive wider indigenous participation in offshore marine operations. However, as the NIMASA has not introduced a fine or other punishment for non-compliance, full compliance with the notice cannot be guaranteed.
In 2013 the National Industrial Court (NIC) ushered in a new labour law regime with regard to workplace sexual harassment when it held an employer vicariously liable for acts of sexual harassment perpetrated against one of its employees. Based on the NIC's decision, employers which learn of workplace sexual harassment and take no administrative decision to investigate it may be liable for breaching their duty of care to their employees by failing to protect their fundamental rights.
It is clear from the #metoo #hertoo and #timesup campaigns – as well as the numerous allegations of sexual harassment levied against perceived industry leaders – that combating sexual harassment is a global concern. Thankfully, it seems that such conduct will no longer be condoned, considered tenable or swept swiftly and easily under the corporate carpet. This article examines employees' rights in the workplace under Nigerian law.
In a bid to promote a sound financial system and enhance access to financial services for low-income earners and the unbanked segments of the Nigerian population, the Central Bank of Nigeria recently issued the Guidelines for Licensing and Regulation of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in Nigeria. The main objective of establishing PSBs is to enable high-volume, low-value transactions in remittance, micro-saving and withdrawal services in a secured technology-driven environment.
It is not uncommon for shipowners to incur liability for acts or omissions for which neither they nor their employees are directly responsible. This is particularly common in the compulsory pilotage field. However, even in cases where liability cannot be disputed, shipowners may be entitled to limit their liability or, in some cases, escape it entirely.
In late 2018 the president declined to assent to the National Transport Commission Bill (which the Senate had passed in March 2018). The president cited the need to review certain fiscal provisions set out in the bill, as well as concerns over the duplication of functions which already fell within the statutory mandates of existing agencies. The Senate recently formally reapproved the bill after examining it in view of the president's observations.
Voyaging in West African waters, particularly the Gulf of Guinea, is considered dangerous and raises the question of whether shipowners are entitled to put armed guards on board their vessels to protect them from attacks by arms-bearing third parties. Considering reported attacks of armed robbers at sea, kidnappings for ransom and other criminal occurrences in Nigerian waters, shipowners and operators have explored how to optimise the protection of both ships and cargo.
Shipowners whose ships have caused damage will not want their ship to be arrested, but also will not want to pay damages to the extent of the actual claim. Luckily, shipowners can ensure that their ships are not arrested and at the same time significantly limit the total amount payable. To cap it all off, shipowners do not have to accept liability. If this is not having your cake and eating it, then nothing is.
In view of the increasing focus on cybersecurity worldwide and the rise in cyber threats both in and outside Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria recently issued a draft risk-based framework and guidelines on cybersecurity for deposit money banks and payment service providers. The draft guidelines aim to complement and build on the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention) Act 2015 by promoting cybersecurity and protecting computer systems and networks and electronic communications.
A foreign employee recently secured a landmark judgment in the National Industrial Court in relation to redundancy benefits that he had claimed while employed by the defendant. The judgment reinforces the well-established principle of interpreting the plain and ordinary meaning of employment contracts and strengthens the position of local and foreign employees seeking to enforce their rights where these are clearly provided for in their respective employment contracts, policies or handbooks.
Recent reports about developments in an ongoing corruption case in Italy, which alleges corruption in Nigeria by oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Italian company Eni, have increased speculation as to whether any meaningful proceedings relating to the matter will ever be brought in Nigeria. There appear to be numerous issues in respect of which inquiries might be undertaken.
In a watershed decision, the Supreme Court appears to have overruled itself on the question of what constitutes 'outside jurisdiction' in relation to the Admiralty Court (Federal High Court) for the purpose of determining whether leave of court is required to effect service of an originating process. The decision puts to bed the decade-long unease surrounding the territorial jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court in the wake of MV Arabella.
The Nigerian aviation industry plays a key role in the country's transport system and overall economy. Thus, it is exasperating that air passengers still encounter numerous challenges, such as delays or cancellations of scheduled flights and lost, stolen or delayed baggage. Although existing laws and regulations govern passenger rights, key issues concern the level of passenger awareness regarding such rights and the inadequate enforcement of the laws and regulations.
The National Assembly is considering three bills to repeal and re-enact the key pieces of legislation that regulate the banking sector. Collectively, the bills provide for an increase in the Central Bank of Nigeria's autonomy and discretionary powers, an expansion of the banking regulation regime to accommodate electronic transactions and increased penalties for infractions, including the imposition of personal liability on bank officers and directors.
Award debtors routinely employ every conceivable strategy to circumvent the enforcement of an arbitral award against them. One such strategy is to argue that the time limit for enforcing an award or judgment has lapsed, thus rendering the award unenforceable. As this issue has long plagued award creditors, the relevant statutory provisions and judicial decisions in this regard must be evaluated in order to ascertain the ways in which the unsavoury outcome of the statutes of limitation can be avoided.
Following the Federal High Court's recent ruling that claims for crew wages fall outside its jurisdiction, practitioners and other observers are understandably eager for judicial elaboration on the fate of such claims. Although initial reactions appear to be that crew wage claims may no longer be enforceable through the adoption of the in rem procedure, some have argued that the ruling, being merely persuasive, can and should be sidestepped by other Federal High Court judges.