Nigeria woos foreign diplomats for election into IMO Council
The Federal Government has called on all Heads of Foreign Missions to support Nigeria’s re-election bid into the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
This is in a bid to ensure the country’s success in its re-election into the Category C of the IMO Council, one of the highest decision making body of an arm of the United Nation (UN), responsible for global maritime regulation.
Nigeria lost the seat in 2011, but unprecedented improvements made in the past two years, puts it in a position to reclaim a seat on the IMO Council.
Through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), is seeking election into the Category C of the IMO Council, which is coming up later this year.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrey Onyema, was quoted as saying in a statement that as a key player in the global maritime industry, Nigeria played active leadership roles in ensuring the development of the sector not only in-country, but also the entire West and Central African sub-region.
The Minister, who spoke at a Cocktail Dinner in honour of Foreign Missions organised by his ministry and that of Transportation, in Abuja, assured the global maritime community of Nigeria’s readiness to ensure optimum performance through curbing piracy, preventing marine pollution, reinvigoration of its ports and capacity building.
“I wish to inform you that we have enacted proactive policies that conform to global best practices in the maritime sector, more specifically, through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). We have domesticated a number of IMO maritime safety conventions with a view to ensuring maritime safety and security, not only in our domain but in the entire West and Central African sub-region,” he said.
Similarly, his Ministry of Transportation counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi, noted that Nigeria has taken a lead role in African maritime sector, adding that the Regional Search and Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC) in Lagos, coordinates Search and Rescue (SAR) activities in the country and African sub-region, which comprises Togo, Benin Republic, Cameroun, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea as well as Sao Tome and Principe.
He added that the Federal Government has approved the establishment of an Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Infrastructure Protection which will ensure security in the Nigerian maritime domain.Corroborating Amaechi, the Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said Nigeria occupies a special position in the African Maritime sector based on the length of its coastline, and attendant volume of trade.
Peterside said: “Nigeria has a coastline of over 850km, and 65 per cent of the cargoes heading to Africa end up in Nigeria. We were the first country in Africa to enact a Coastal and Inland Trade Law (Cabotage Law), and we are likely going to be the first to enact an anti-piracy bill, and so we are committed to taking shipping to the next level.”
The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwento, and his counterpart from Syria, Mohammed Abo Serriah, commended Nigeria’s achievements in recent times and pledged support towards the election in to the council seat. They said aside supporting Nigeria’s bid they would also canvass for votes for the country after seeing the strides being made by Nigeria in the entire African Maritime sector.
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