Nigeriaâ€™s chances of returning to the council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), has greatly improved with the recent efforts of the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration led by its Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, to bring the country back to leadership position in global maritime community later this year.
Nigeriaâ€™s Alternate Permanent Representative (APR) at the IMO, Alhaji Diko Balla, who stated this at the Nigerian IMO office in London, noted that the steps taken by the present NIMASA management, have led to a great improvement of the countryâ€™s relationship with the IMO as a body and other maritime administrations who are members of the international body.
The move, he said was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari drive to integrate the nation back into global affairs.
He noted that â€œNigeria was amongst the first 10 countries from the over 170 member nations of the IMO to submit itself for the IMO Member States Audit Scheme, (IMSAS). According to him, the IMO Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim was pleased when the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi informed him that the findings and observations of the IMSAS of Nigeria was being studied with a view to preparing and implementing corrective action plans within the stipulated time frame.
Speaking further, the APR noted that IMO considers the issue of piracy as top priority and the maritime community, particularly the IMO is pleased with Nigeria for taking the fight against piracy and robbery at sea to new levels with the Anti-Piracy bill in the parliament.
In his words: â€œThe achievements of the Dr. Dakuku Peterside – led management at NIMASA, in the past one year are indications that the nationâ€™s maritime sector is heading in the right direction. And the fact that the IMO is collaborating with Nigeria much more in the area of trainings and technical support shows that the international body is satisfied with NIMASA operations in recent times. By November this year, I can assure you that Nigeriaâ€™s election into the Category â€œCâ€ at IMO will be an overwhelming one.â€
Commenting on the implementation of the International Ships and Ports facility Security ISPS Code, Mr. Bala noted that the fact that Nigeria is now in the category of countries considered as most successful in its implementation is a welcome development to both the IMO and other stakeholders in the maritime sector.
â€ You will recall that when we lost our seat in Council in 2011, our implementation status was less than 13%. Today we have over 85% compliance level, so you can see that the international community is watching and appreciating our effortsâ€ he said.
Speaking further, the Nigerian APR said that the IMO is prepared to support Maritime Administrations in Africa in combating security challenges, and in building human capacity equipped to implement, monitor and enforce international instruments.
The Nigerian APR to the IMO noted that the Body was satisfied with the decision of the continental body to encourage regional cooperation and coordination amongst member nations to enhance information sharing and regulatory governance among members, which according to the IMO has the potential to assist in combating the menace of piracy and other maritime crimes, while maintaining a balance between security and the facilitation of global trade.