By Ignatius Ushie
The Senator Gbemisola Saraki-led Joint Committee on Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) elections, have achieved support of eight countries with prospects of getting more for Dr Paul Adalikwu, the Nigerian candidate for the top MOWCA job.
These endorsements are coming for Adalikwu, who is Nigeria’s candidate for MOWCA Secretary General, ahead of the 15th General Assembly of MOWCA billed to hold in Accra from July 26 to July 30, 2021.
Gambia, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Democratic Republic Congo (DRC), Niger Republic, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana have thrown their weights behind Nigeria for the top position in the 25 member multilateral organisation.
Leader of the Nigerian delegations and Chairman of the Joint Committee on MOWCA and International Maritime Organisation Elections, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, said Nigeria is committed to a safer and productive maritime sector in Africa
The minister, who is also chairing the committee on Nigeria’s bid to win a Category ‘C’ Council seat in the IMO expressed optimism in African countries coming together as a bloc in the global maritime arena
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Transportation, added that the country is committing resources for maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, promoting the establishment of Regional Maritime Development Bank and has financially supported MOWCA with over $3.7m in the last ten years, adding that Dr Paul Adalikwu as a candidate with impeccable maritime and managerial experience needed to harness the MOWCA platform for the good of all member countries and two regions of West and Central Africa.
The minister of State added that MOWCA under Adalikwu will evolve a maritime economic plan for the continent that will align with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Saraki said the Nigerian candidate holds invaluable international exposure and vast in the bureaucracy to galvanise Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the African Union (AU) for greater maritime business awareness.
According to her, “Nigeria has put in place very robust programmes to address challenges in the Maritime industry in the region amongst which are: the Executive Order 1 on Ease of Doing Business in the Maritime Industry; Enactment of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO), Act 2019, making Nigeria the only country in the sub-region with a law to prosecute maritime crimes; the Global Maritime Security Conference hosted in Abuja in 2019 that brought together over 80 Maritime Countries to discuss the issues of maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
“The on-going deployment of the Integrated Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure also known as the “Deep Blue Project” is a testament of Nigeria’s commitment to improve on safety and security in the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) region” she said.