- Secretary General of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr Paul Adalikwu (right), Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Minister of Transportation, Dr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, and Minister of State for Transportation, Ademola Adegoroye, during the MOWCA team’s courtesy visit to the ministry in Abuja
By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Federal Government is working to secure accommodation for the take-off of the Regional Maritime Development Bank within the next 90 days, the Minister of Transportation, Dr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has said.
Sambo, who spoke during a courtesy visit to the ministry by the Secretary-General, Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, said he identified the regional maritime bank among the lowest hanging fruits that could be achieved within a very short time, “in fact 90 days is too long.”
However, he explained that he will approach the Attorney General of the Federation to see if one of the forfeited properties could be allocated for the bank, since all efforts towards getting accommodation through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have not been fruitful.
Meanwhile, he urged Adalikwu to leverage MOWCA as a regional body to push Nigeria’s intent of becoming a member of Category C of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), according to a statement from the ministry’s Director of Press and Public Relations, Eric Ojiekwe.
Adalikwu had earlier stated that the idea of a regional maritime development bank was conceived 11 years ago to facilitate single-digit interest loans to provide leeway to key players in the sector and enable them compete favourably with their international counterparts.
“Eight countries have signed the charter as required in the document establishing the bank,” he disclosed. “Two weeks ago, DRC Congo also signed, making it nine countries – one above the threshold required for the establishment of the Act.”
According to him, the prospective maritime bank’s organogram, as adopted by council members, ceded to Nigeria the positions of president, company secretary and a seat on the board; Cameroun is to produce vice president 1, and Cote d’Ivoire vice president 2, while other member-countries are to provide board members.
On her part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, commended Adalikwu on the forthcoming regional meeting billed for Abuja in November.
She indicated that the IMO Secretary-General, Kitlack Lim, will seek to use the forum to prevail on the 25 member-states to adopt the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act to enable the trial of piracy cases within the MOWCA sub-region irrespective of wherever the crime was committed.