Peterside blames Nigeria’s IMO seat loss on ‘deadly waters,’ others

Confirming the verdict of the United States (U.S.) that Nigerian waters is deadly and unsafe, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, says it was even part of the reasons the nation lost the Category C seat of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Peterside told newsmen on the sidelines of the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea Group meeting in Lagos that the nation’s insecure and unsafe waters contributed immensely to its woes at the IMO election. However, he said the “7 Friends of the Gulf of the Guinea Group” is one of the international initiatives the country is leveraging to strengthen the fight against piracy and other criminal activities on the sea. There were 36 attempted piracy attacks in Nigerian territorial waters in 2016, while 40 persons have so far been kidnapped this year. More so, it was due to such insecurity that the U.S. last month warned ships to be wary when approaching Nigerian waters. Citing the latest quarterly report of the International Maritime Bureau, the U.S. Maritime Administration noted that 20 reports of attacks against all vessel types were received from Nigeria while 39 of the 49 crew members’ kidnap globally occurred off Nigerian waters in seven separate incidents. ‎According to Peterside, the ‎international community’s general impression that Nigeria was not doing enough to tackle the situation greatly contributed to the nation’s loss. He said: “I cannot deny the fact that the issue of piracy may have had some impact on the elections. “Our colleagues did not have much information about what we were doing to tackle piracy and there was a general impression that Nigeria was not doing enough to tackle the issue of piracy.” He listed the other reasons as “late preparations and the fact that we did not go round other countries like others did. It would have cost plenty of money but we are not willing to spend such money. We had considered economic factors in the context of our political aspirations. “It is Nigeria that ran for IMO Category C, and for you to use the name Nigeria, you must get the approval of the man who is managing all the country. The president just got elected, so it would have gone through a process, we have lost some time but the approval eventually came. “After we got the approval, there were also budgetary processes to go through before we begin the campaign; all of these things affected our early preparations. However, Peterside clarified that contrary to reports that over N200 million was spent on the exercise, “NIMASA spent less than N100 million for the IMO campaign and it was only three delegates that attended the conference from NIMASA,” while Singapore, China and the United Arab Emirates had the highest delegates.

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