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Saraki urges African nations to support Nigeria for IMO seat

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Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki PHOTO: Twitter

Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, has stepped up talks with African countries to support Nigeria to be elected into Category C of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council.

Speaking in Banjul during bilateral talks with the Minister of Transport of the Republic of Gambia, Bai Lamin Jobe, Saraki urged other African countries to rally round one of their own in the global maritime body.

Ahead of the IMO council election that comes up later in the year, Saraki advised African countries to strengthen their age-long unity by harmonising a position before participating in meetings involving global audiences.

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Reiterating Nigeria’s commitment towards a greater, united and more economically self-reliant Africa, she identified the maritime sector as a veritable natural resource for continental development.

The minister also presented Nigeria’s candidate seeking to be elected as the Secretary General of the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, already endorsed by other countries, including Ghana, Niger and Cameroun.

Jobe described the delegation’s visit to his office as successful, pledging his country’s support for the Nigerian cause.

Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval for Nigeria to vie for the Category C council position in the global maritime body, Saraki had earlier opened talks with transport ministers of Ghana, Cameroun and other countries in a move to make Nigeria a member of the council by election.

Currently, no West and Central African country is represented in the IMO Council, which is the executive organ of the global organisation that is responsible, under the assembly, for supervising the work of the organisation.

Between sessions of the assembly, the council performs all the functions of the assembly, except that of making recommendations to governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.

Countries currently in the Category C of the IMO Council include Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.

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Category C is constituted by a group of 20 countries not elected under Category A or B, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the council would ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.

Category B are a group of 10 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Arab Emirates with interest in seaborne trade.

Category A includes 10 states with the largest interest in providing international shipping services. They are Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States of America.

However, due to the high rate of COVID-19 vaccination in the United Kingdom, IMO is set to reopen fully for business in September ahead of the elections slated for December 6-15, 2021.

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