By Zika Bobby
Ahead of the 15th General Assembly of Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) billed to hold in Accra between July 26 and 30, eight countries have expressed support for Paul Adalikwu, Nigeria’s candidate for the body’s secretary general.
Gambia, Sierria Leone, Equitorial 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, Gbemisola Saraki, said Nigeria is committed to a safer and productive maritime sector in Africa
Saraki, who is 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 $3.7 million in the last 10 years.
She described 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.
She said MOWCA under Adalikwu will evolve a maritime economic plan for the continent that will align with the African Continental Free Trade Area.
She said the Nigerian candidate holds invaluable international exposure and vast in the bureaucracy to galvanise Economic Community of West African States, Economic Community of Central African States and the African Union for greater maritime business awareness.
“Nigeria has put in place very robust programmes to address challenges in the Maritime industry in the region among 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 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.
“The ongoing 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 region,” she said.