The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on Monday in Lagos identified late preparations as a major factor responsible for the inability of Nigeria to secure a seat in the category ‘C’ of International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Speaking with Journalists on the sideline of G7++ group summit held in Lagos, the Director General of NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside explained that members of the council had taken a position before most of them were approached by Nigeria.
The NIMASA boss also used the opportunity to refute reported list of delegation and amount used for the election processes.
According to Dakuku, “far less than N100million” was used for the campaign while the delegation from NIMASA was “not more than three”.
Explaining further on the election which was held from November 27 to December 8, 2017 in London, Dakuku said Nigeria Nigeria did not send a delegation to go from country to country, to campaign for its election into the council.
Peterside recalled that Nigeria was last in the IMO Council in 2011 and “since then we made effort to be re-elected’’.
He added: “IMO acknowledged the fact that Nigeria had done very well as a maritime administration. We are the first country in Africa to subject ourselves to mandatory audit by the IMO.
“We are highly rated as performing very well in our Port and Flag and Coastal State functions.
“In the last one year, we have attracted more training than many African countries.
“The choice of who gets elected into the council is actually a democratic process and a few things were not tidied up, which have to do with administrative processes”.
He explained that all African countries, who were elected into the council such as Morocco, Egypt, Liberia South Africa and Kenya, were simply re-elected.
He was optimistic that given those things Nigeria had done in recent times, it would be elected in future exercise.
He stated that Nigeria is the first country in Africa that subjected itself to IMO audit, which rated Nigeria high in terms of security on its waterways in line with the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) facility code; with Nigeria having complied by over 80 per cent.
Also, in the area of ratification of IMO conventions, Nigeria has done very well, which is very evident in the day to day running of the maritime sector in Nigeria.
While further explaining that the reasons Nigeria did not win was due to the fact that we started fairly late in our campaign for the election, as Nigeria was still coming back into the international reckoning with a new government, so NIMASA could not reach out early enough to its counterparts in other countries for support, some of whom have made up their minds. He added that contrary to insinuations in the media, Nigeria however did not spend as much money as is being peddled.
He however, called on the media to continue to partner with the Agency in beaming its activities in good light and also expressed optimism that Nigeria has started preparation to return to the IMO Category C, in the next election in 2019.
Earlier, the Honourable Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), commended the collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy and stated that it has also helped to curb criminal activities in the region.