By G9ija

Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom George Oguntade has assured the international maritime community of the commitment of the Federal Government to enhanced security on Nigerian waters.

He spoke just as the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr Dakuku Peterside announced Nigeria’s quest to return to Category C of the International Maritime Organisation(IMO) Council at an election scheduled to take place later this year.

He stated this at the dinner hosted in honor of a delegation from Nigeria at the headquarters of IMO with the Secretary General Mr Kitac Lim leading other Permanent and Alternate Representatives to the dinner which also had the Chairman of the House Committee on Maritime Safety Education and Administration, Linda Ikpeazu in attendance.

Oguntade, who doubles as Nigerian Permanent Representative at the IMO, said Nigeria is committed to providing conducive environment for business in the maritime sector to thrive.

He noted that the Global Maritime Security Conference Nigeria has committed to host from 7th – 9th October is another show of commitment to talking issues that may hinder business in the sector.

Peterside, while announcing Nigeria’s quest to seek election back to Council, noted that Nigeria has done enough to merit a return to council at the IMO.

“Nigerian is willing and prepared to play more regional and international roles to the global maritime community but that would only be possible with your support.

“Let Nigeria contribute from within Council to the growth of the maritime sector globally. Lets contribute significantly to the work of the IMO,” Dakuku said.

While acknowledging the fact that Nigeria is a beneficiary of IMO technical support, the NIMASA DG noted that the issue of the anti- piracy Act in Nigeria took firm root from the technical support that was provided by the IMO.

He stated Nigeria has ratified 40 IMO Conventions and domesticated 19 with plans to ratify and domesticate 6 more in the very near future, adding that Nigeria topped the chart on Port and Flag State Administration in West and Central Africa sub-region.

Speaking on the Global Maritime security conference scheduled for Abuja in October, Dakuku disclosed that over 70 countries have so far indicated interest to be part of the conference which is to provide both short and long term solutions to the security issues in the region.

“To further address the issue of insecurity in the region’s maritime domain, Nigeria will host the 2019 Global Maritime Security Conference from the 7th to 9th of October in Abuja. With 12 thematic session, it’s our hope that the conference will rise with the ‘ABUJA DECLARATION’ on ending insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea. He said.

Assistant secretary general of the IMO Dr Lawrence Barchua who spoke on behalf of the Council, said noted that a review of the report on Nigeria Member State Shows availability of both Human and infrastructural capacity in country for Nigeria to be a leading maritime nation.

“Nigeria’s strategic location in the hearth of the sub region makes it the access route and gateway of main stay shipping.

“We are glad that the federal government of Nigeria is making concise efforts to address the issue.

“Having read the Member State Audit report on Nigeria, it is clear that the country has what it takes to be a leading maritime nation,” he said.

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