Nigeria has left the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa (MOWCA).
A statement issued on Monday by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Transportation, Eric Ojiekwe explained that this followed disregard for the rules of procedure regarding the eligibility of candidates nominated for the position of the organisation’s Secretary-General.
He added that the decision was reached at the 8th Bureau of Ministers and 15th General Assembly of MOWCA held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to him, Nigeria’s delegation expressed sadness at the outcome of the meeting, given Nigeria’s ardent and consistent support for MOWCA and its activities over the years.
“Nigeria as a nation must take a stand against the promotion of illegality, disrespect for the rule of law and contravention of the rules regarding election of the Secretary-General of MOWCA.
“Nigeria draws the attention of the General Assembly to the comment of MOWCA as presented by MOWCA secretariat in the annotated agenda circulated this week to the Committee of Experts’ meeting.
“It confirmed that Nigeria is the only country that met the age eligibility criteria requirement that candidates must not exceed 55 years.
“The candidate nominated by Nigeria was 55 years as at when nominations closed in 2020, while the candidates of Guinea was 60 years old and that of Benin was 62 years old.
“By this, the Nigerian candidate and Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Paul Adaliku was the only eligible candidate and should have been declared unopposed,’’ he said.
Ojiekwe frowned at the “apparent willingness’’ of some member states to consider for elections candidates, who knowingly contravened the age criteria by more than five years in the case of Guinea and seven years by Benin.
He noted that no member states had supported MOWCA as much as Nigeria as the records showed.
“She (Nigeria) has contributed more than five million dollars in the past 10 years with the organisation not employing a single Nigerian.