The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have agreed to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to develop a regulatory framework for submarine cable and pipeline operators in Nigeria.
The decision was reached during a pre-audit meeting on submarine cable regulation in Lagos, chaired by NIMASA’s director-general, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
Jamoh noted that Nigeria is now a destination for global communication players and emphasised the need to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying that could become hazardous to shipping. He added that NIMASA is committed to ensuring the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters and is developing guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which Nigeria has ratified.
“Marine cable laying has been ongoing in Nigerian waters for over two decades.
“The focus is to ensure the safety of navigation for shipping in Nigerian waters, despite the laying of these underwater cables.
“NIMASA is developing guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in accordance with UNCLOS, which Nigeria has ratified, and NIMASA is responsible for implementing it. The agency believes in collaboration, and it will work closely with the NCC to ensure ease of doing business in the country’s best interest,” he said.
The executive vice chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who was represented by the director of compliance monitoring and enforcement, Efosa Idehen commended NIMASA for adopting effective inter-agency collaboration.
He urged the agency to include the Ministry of Justice in the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted in developing the guidelines to ensure a win-win situation.
The director-general of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Mr. Dasuki Arabi also commended NIMASA and the NCC for their collaboration and emphasised the need for effective inter-agency collaboration to avert potential challenges for the country in the future.
The meeting also had officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of submarine cable operators in Nigeria in attendance. The regulatory framework based on consultation aims to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation while ensuring a regulatory framework that resolves areas of likely regulatory overlaps.