Kitack’s visit to aid Nigeria’s chances of IMO Council seat, says Sambo

  • Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh (right), Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, Secretary-General, International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitack Lim, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, unveiling the new NIMASA head office at Victoria Island, Lagos…Tuesday

By Anthony Nwachukwu

Nigeria will tap from the goodwill and diplomatic advantage of the working visit of the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Mr. Kitack Lim, to clinch next year the council seat which has severally eluded it, the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, has said.

During the visit, Kitack, alongside Sambo and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, attended the Nigeria International Maritime Summit, where he interacted with maritime stakeholders.

He also participated in a simulated section at the C4i command and control headquarters of the Deep Blue Project of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) at the agency’s resource centre in Lagos, commissioned the agency’s new multi-billion tower, as well as toured the Nigerian Maritime Academy in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos on the impacts of the visit, Sambo said: “I am sure the secretary-general is going back to London better informed than when he came here. By the grace of God, next year Nigeria is going to clinch that council seat.”

The minister described Kitack’s visit as “very significant,” adding that he “is the most powerful official of the international maritime organisation coming to Nigeria, you don’t get them coming to any country anyhow, they have very busy schedules.

“In fact, IMO Council is taking place next week in London, but I think the significance of Nigeria and the relationship we have with the secretary-general, which is quite robust, and the roles we have been able to play in the maritime domain, played together to attract him to this country.

“Today, Nigeria is the cynosure of all eyes all over the world by this single visit. He is a friend of Nigeria and indeed a friend of Africa.”

On the C4i anti-piracy facilities, he said: “Maritime security concerns everyone. This is the regional centre looking after about nine countries.

“Our commitment stands, what we have seen today only reinforces that commitment – the tour of the deep blue (project) – when some of us are asleep, snoring or lying down comfortably in our beds and reading books or watching movies, some Nigerians spend their time 24/7 protecting our lives.

“More than ever, I am highly impressed at what I have seen here today. The C4i is a massive and critical investment. I think I also agree with Mr. President that what we have covering the maritime domain should also be reflected on land.

Meanwhile, he dismissed concerns that the country was duplicating efforts and spending resources on the same maritime surveillance and security projects by various agencies, including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the Nigerian Navy.

According to him, “each of these agencies have different types of systems, and not C4i, but as far as that of the NPA is concerned, it is a step towards a port community system. It is a step in the direction of establishing a port community.”

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