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Nigeria quits maritime organisation over alleged electoral fraud

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Nigeria has pulled out of the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA), following alleged disregard for the rules of procedure regarding the suitability of candidates nominated for the position of the Secretary-General of the organization.

The Nigerian delegation at the eighth Bureau of Ministers and 15th General Assembly of MOWCA held on Thursday, July 29, 2021 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, announced the decision in a statement signed by Eric Ojiekwe, Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Transportation.

It reads in part: “It is sad and most depressing given Nigeria’s ardent and consistent support for MOWCA and its activities, that Nigeria as a nation must take a stand against the promotion of illegality, disrespect for the rule of law and contravention of the rules regarding the election of the Secretary General of MOWCA.

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“Nigeria draws the attention of the General Assembly to the comment of MOWCA as presented by MOWCA secretariat in the annotated Agenda circulated this week to the Committee of Experts meeting, which confirmed that Nigeria is the only country that met the age eligibility criteria that candidates must not exceed 55 years.

“The candidate nominated by Nigeria was 55 years as at when nominations closed in 2020, while the candidate of Guinea was 60 years old and that of Benin was 62 years old.”

By this, the Nigerian candidate and Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Paul Adaliku was the only eligible candidate and should have been declared unopposed.

The statement said, the apparent willingness of some member states to consider for elections candidates who knowingly contravened the age criteria having exceeded the maximum age limit by more than five years in the case of Guinea and seven years by Benin, does not portend well for the reputation and operation of MOWCA as a rule-based organisation.

It noted that no member-state has supported MOWCA as much as Nigeria, as the records show that she has contributed over $5million in the past 10 years with the organisation not employing a single Nigerian.

It added that: ”It should be noted that not a single citizen of Nigeria has ever been employed in MOWCA, and this is the first time that Nigeria has contested for the position of the Secretary-General of the organization even though it is an uncontested fact that it is essentially the contributions of Nigeria that have sustained the organization over the years”.

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