ADVOCACY CENTRE EMBARKS ON LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY TO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) is scheduled to join other civil society organizations, groups, the Navy and others to make presentation at a 1-Day public hearing on two Bills: “NATIONAL HYDROGRAPHIC AGENCY” and “NIGERIAN MARITIME TRUST FUND” at the National Assembly organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Navy on Monday, June 28, 2021 at the National Assembly.
This legislative advocacy to the National Assembly is the 4th in the series in less than 20 Months between 2020 and 2021 pandemic years alone. Three previous hearing that Advocacy Centre was invited to make input into the legislations were those conducted twice by the House Committee on Environment and the other by House Committee on Crude Oil Theft in Nigeria. Below is the executive summary of Advocacy Centre’s presentation at the National Assembly while the full report submitted in hard copies can be downloaded at the end of this report.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF MEMORANDA ON BILLS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF “NATIONAL HYDROGRAPHIC AGENCY” AND “NIGERIAN MARITIME TRUST FUND” PRESENTED BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF YOUTHS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY CENTRE (YEAC) FYNEFACE DUMNAMENE FYNEFACE REPRESENTED BY ABUJA ADVOCACY MANAGER, ROSEMARY ARAFIENA AT THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON NAVY PUBLIC HEARING HELD AT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, ABUJA-FCT ON MONDAY, JUNE 28, 2021
In our memoranda that copies with more details have been submitted to the Committee, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) supports the establishment of both The National Hydrographic Agency (NHA) and The Nigerian Maritime Trust Fund by Acts of Parliament through these proposed Bills and congratulates the sponsor, Rt. Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi. However, on the National Hydrographic Agency, Advocacy Centre comments that the objectives are too elaborate and may need to be properly cross-checked to be sure that it does not overlap and conflict with the objectives of other existing agencies especially those of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). It also added by way of recommendation that the Agency can be empowered to address issues around Nigeria’s Blue Economy prospects if there are no such provisions in other existing extant Laws in the Country.
On the Maritime Trust Fund, Advocacy Centre made many observations and recommendations that should be critically considered. First, we recommend that the Fund should not focused entirely on the Navy alone but also serve as an interventionist Trust Fund for other agencies of government operating in the Nigerian maritime sector like NIMASA and in-line with the name of the Bill, “NIGERIAN MARITIME TRUST FUND”. Instead, 50% of the Fund can be reserved for the needs of the Navy while the other 50% is spread to intervene for other agencies like the Education Trust Fund (ETF) does in the educational sector. Advocacy Centre however suggests that if this Bill is not going to be re-organized in line with our recommendations to be a general interventionist Trust Fund in the Nigerian Maritime sector but still focused on the Navy as currently drafted then, its name should be changed from “NIGERIAN MARITIME TRUST FUND” to “NIGERIAN NAVY TRUST FUND” to be more direct and suitable for its stated objectives.
Another very critical observation of Advocacy Centre in the Trust Fund Bill is under its SCOPE AND DURATION. The duration provides that the Trust Fund “is to operate for six years from the commencement of this Act and shall, at the expiration of that period, cease to exist unless it is extended for any further period by an Act of the National Assembly”. Advocacy Centre does not support this which makes the Bill an ad-hoc arrangement with national legislative backing. It is our recommendation therefore that this provision be expunged or amended for the Fund to be a permanent interventionist Trust Fund in the Nigerian maritime sector and continually serve the objectives for which it was established. This is because, the problems for which the Fund is being set up are not one-off or six years solvable challenges but perpetual problems that the Fund should be made permanent to intervene and solve. Furthermore, under “Establishment and composition of the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Maritime Trust Fund board of trustees”, Advocacy Centre recommends that in addition to the ten (10) members listed to consist of the trustees, there should be an 11th member such as a representative of persons living with disabilities/physically challenged. We also recommend that one third of the eleven members to be appointed should be women. That is to say, out of the eleven (11) members including representative of persons living with disabilities, at least three should be women.
The full memoranda submitted is downloadable here YEAC Presentation to Reps Committee on Navy June 28 2021