Nigeria’s Alternate Permanent Representative (APR) at the IMO, Alhaji Diko Balla has said that the nation’s bid to return to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council has improved greatly with recent efforts of the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) led by the Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
Alhaji Diko Balla revealed this in a press briefing at the Nigerian IMO office in London earlier this week.
Mr. Balla noted that the steps taken by the present NIMASA management has led to a great improvement of the country’s relationship with the IMO as a body and other Maritime Administrations who were members of the international body.
According to him the move is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s drive to integrate the nation back into global affairs.
He said that “Nigeria was amongst the first ten (10) countries from the over 170 member nations of the IMO to submit itself for the IMO Member States Audit Scheme (IMSAS), this is seen as a show of direction of the current administration of maritime in Nigeria by the IMO adding that the IMO Secretary General Mr. Kitack Lim was pleased when the Minister of Transportation, Honorable Rotimi Amaechi informed him that the findings and observations of the IMO Member States Audit Scheme of Nigeria was being studied with a view to preparing and implementing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) within the stipulated time frame”.
Speaking further, the APR noted that IMO considered the issue of Piracy as top priority and that the maritime community, particularly the IMO was pleased with Nigeria for taking the fight against Piracy and robbery at sea to new levels with the Anti-Piracy bill push parliament.
“The achievements of the Dr. Dakuku Peterside led Management at NIMASA in the past one year is an indication that the nation’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 Nigeria’s election into the Category “C” at IMO will be an overwhelming one.”
On the implementation of the International Ships and Ports facility Security (ISPS) Code, Mr. Bala noted that the fact that Nigeria was now in the category of countries considered as most successful in its implementation was a welcome development to both the IMO and other stakeholders in the maritime sector.
“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 efforts” he said.
The Nigerian APR said that the IMO was prepared to support Maritime Administrations in Africa in combating security challenges and in building human capacity equipped to implement, monitor and enforce international instruments.
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Indigenous Ship Owners Association (NISA), Engr. Emmanuel Ilori has lamented that the nation has nothing to offer at the IMO Council at the moment.
Ilori who was speaking during an exclusive chat with MMS Plus newspaper, stressed that despite the immense potentials of the maritime sector in Nigeria, the nation was yet to make any development technically via ship building, repairs or maintenance or in the area of policy formulation that enhances maritime practice in Nigeria, Africa or globally.
He maintained that the nation should be more concerned about resolving the many issues which continues to stifle the growth of maritime in Nigeria.