Nigeria to Contest IMO Council Seat in 2025 – Minister

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Pic 1 (L-R) Secretary General of the IMO, Kitack Lim and Nigeria's Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola at the ongoing IMO General Assembly in London.

– Restates FG Commitment to reposition maritime Sector

By Innocent Orok

Nigeria’s Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has restated the commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to reposition the nation’s maritime sector in line with its agenda for economic growth and development.

The Minister disclosed that his ministry had already mapped out plans on how to revamp the maritime industry, noting that the plans cover areas such as security, marine environment management, climate action and human capital development.

He made the remarks on Monday while addressing Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the 33rd session of its General Assembly in London, according to statement released by his spokesperson, Ismail Omipidan. This is even as the Secretary General of IMO, Kitack Lim, commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for creating the new ministry, saying that the approach was futuristic and strategic.

Nigerian team and some guests led by Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola at the ongoing IMO General Assembly in London.

According to Oyetola, President Tinubu, in recognition of the importance of the maritime industry and Nigeria’s strategic position as a leading maritime nation in the region, established the Ministry for Marine and Blue Economy upon assuming office in May 2023.

He added that the new Ministry had already made significant strides in the quest to put in place a more progressive and dynamic maritime sector nationally, regionally, and internationally.

The minister said: “We have already begun the process of developing a framework that will ensure short, medium and long-term outcomes to reposition the maritime sector to achieve the new administration’s agenda for economic growth and development.

“In the area of national security initiatives, Nigeria has continued to take concrete steps in emplacing the necessary legal and institutional framework to sustain the successes attained in ensuring maritime security within her maritime domain.

“It is noteworthy to mention in this regard the enactment of a dedicated legislation, the Suppression of Piracy and Other Offences Act, which fortifies the legal framework, and in addition to that, the implementation of the Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Protection Solution, known as “The DEEP BLUE PROJECT,” which further enhances maritime security with its command and control infrastructure,” Oyetola said.

He noted that the aforementioned initiative had continued to bolster Nigeria’s maritime security architecture and contributed to the significant drop in the number of security incidents in Nigerian waters and the wider Gulf of Guinea, which he said was achieved in collaboration with member states, stakeholders and the IMO.

In the area of marine environment management, Oyetola said that Nigeria had remained steadfast in the actualisation of its treaty obligation and that he was happy to report the recent ratification of six maritime conventions and protocols that will further promote a cleaner marine environment, ship-breaking criteria, global standard for fishing crew and response to oil pollution casualties.

While in the area of climate action and in fulfilment of the the IMO’s commitment to the global fight against climate change, the Minister said that Nigeria was committed to working with other member states in the implementation of the strategy

“Nigeria notes the 2023 strategy on Green House Gas emissions adopted at the MEPC 80 which demonstrated the spirit of friendship, compromise and consensus amongst member states,” Oyetola said.

He added that in the aspect of human capacity development, Nigeria had continued to place and give priority to the training of its seafarers through its national cadetship initiative, the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).

“Through this initiative, Nigeria has continued to train indigenous seafarers to build capacity and enhance its contribution to the global seafarer’s pool and manpower development, with attention on women seafarers. Since the inception of the NSDP programme, the Federal Government has trained 2,476 cadets in various fields at world-class maritime institutions across the world.

“To reform the business environment, we have continued to implement a broad-based agenda to improve the Nigerian maritime operating environment for commerce to thrive and be driven through inter-agency collaboration and cooperation with the private sector With technical support from IMO, we have initiated the development of a Port Community System (PCS) to create an effective and efficient port community system.

“Currently, we have ensured interconnectivity of operations of the relevant agencies to create seamless cargo clearance processes and procedures to further enhance and simplify cross-border trade,” Oyetola stated.

While concluding his address, the Minister informed the Assembly of Nigeria’s intention to seek election into into the Category C of the IMO Council in 2025. He, therefore, sought the support and votes of member states of the organisation.

Speaking during an event held on the sidelines of the ongoing General Assembly, the IMO Secretary General, Mr. Lim during a brief chat with Oyetola, described the decision by President Tinubu to create the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy as futuristic and strategic. He also commended Nigeria for providing security in the Gulf of Guinea, while also the country to share the idea of the new ministry with member states.

Meanwhile, Minister Oyetola also held bilateral meetings with representatives of Greece, Qatar, and Mexico.

The minister was accompanied on the trip by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Director, Marine Safety and Security, Babatunde Bombata, MD, NPA, Mr. Bello Koko and the DG of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.

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