IMO Council: Transport Minister, Onyema drum support for Nigeria
By Udeme Clement and Silas Onuoha
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geofrey Onyema have called on all Heads of Foreign Missions to support Nigeria’s quest, as it seeks election into Category-C Council of International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the body responsible for global maritime regulation.
Speaking at a cocktail dinner in honour of Foreign Missions, organised by Federal Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Abuja, Mr. Onyema said that as a key player in the global maritime industry, Nigeria has played active leadership roles in ensuring the development of the sector, not only within the country but also in the entire West and Central African sub region.
He assured the global maritime community on Nigeria’s readiness to ensure optimum performance by 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 practice in the maritime sector. More specifically through 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.
n the same vein, Amaechi said 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 Nigeria and African sub region, comprising of, Togo, Benin Republic, Cameroun, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equitorial Guinea as well as Soa Tome and Principe.
He added that the Federal Government has approved establishment of an Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Infrastructure Protection, which will ensure security in the Nigerian maritime domain.
In his remarks, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said that Nigeria occupies a special position in African Maritime sector based on the length of its coastline and the attendant volume of trade.
According to Peterside, “Nigeria has a coastline of over 850km, and 65% of the cargoes heading to Africa would end up in Nigeria. We are 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 and anti-piracy bill and so we are committed to taking shipping to the next level”.
The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Harry Purwento and his counterpart from Syria, Mohammed Abo Serriah, commended Nigeria’s achievements in recent times and pledged support towards its election in to the Council seat of the IMO.