The National Assembly of Cameroon validated a bill to tighten the noose on regulations governing maritime security. The institution’s Committee on Defence and Security in a recent session, deliberated on and adopted Bill No 2027/PJL/AN relating to the suppression of piracy, terrorism and offences against the safety of maritime navigation.
Presenting the review by the committee, Hon Ngoko Mambe Marie said it was deemed “admissible”. This, is after it the bill in question defended by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, assisted by the Secretary of State to the Minister of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie and the Secretary of State to the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, ExServicemen and War Victims and in the presence of the Minister Delegate at the Presidency of the Republic in charge of Relations with the Assemblies.
The bill, she stated, “… also aims to suppress other unlawful acts on water bodies and inland waterways.” The offences cited included piracy, offences against the safety of navigation and platforms, terrorism at sea, illegal transportation of minors, unauthorised broadcasts and pollution of water bodies and other waterways.
“The penalties provided for,” she enumerated, include “… life imprisonment which may include a fine of from CFAF 10 000 000 (ten million) to 2 500 000 000 (two billion five hundred million) as well as accessory penalties provided for by the Penal Code,” said Hon Ngoko Mambe Marie.
The committee, she remarked, also agreed with the need to mete out sanctions with flexibility to culprits of trafficking in minors, as suggested by the bill.
Her words: “… the Minister was crystal clear that trafficking in minors is associated with another type of offence. As a result, the judge has the latitude to mete out maximum sanctions in accordance with the principle of non-accumulation of offences and penalties.”
Cameroon is blessed with multiple marine facilities, based on its coastline which stretches for about 360 km. Over the years however, the forces of law and order have had to grapple with multiple challenges including piracy and illicit marine transportation.