NIMASA, NCC close ranks on submarine cable laying regulation

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Lagos, March 26, 2023 – The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have agreed to work closely with other relevant stakeholders to provide operational guidelines for Submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.

Officials of the two agencies reached this agreement at a pre-audit meeting on submarine cable regulation in Lagos.

Dr Bashir Jamoh, the Director General of NIMASA,  who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr Dasuki Arabi, in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.

Jamoh said that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time had come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.

He said: “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters. Our focus is to ensure safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.

NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation.

“We do not just implement laws; we consult. Where the responsibility of an Agency stops, that is where the responsibilities of another Agency starts.

“Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, said that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation.

He urged NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request immediately granted by the NIMASA DG.

Also speaking at the meeting, Mr Dasuki Arabi, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge in the future.

NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon to be implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.

NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.

Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting. (GBN)

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