There are indications that Nigeria’s Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act will soon be adopted by member nations of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA).
This hint was dropped by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, during a visit to the Ministry by Secretary-General of MOWCA, Dr Paul Adalikwu.
The Permanent Secretary commended Adalikwu on the forthcoming regional meeting of MOWCA scheduled for Abuja in November.
She disclosed that during the November meeting, the Secretary-General of International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitlack Lim, will seek to prevail on the 25 member states of MOWCA to adopt the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act.
She explained that, if adopted, the Act would enable the trial of piracy cases within the MOWCA sub-region, irrespective of whichever sub-region the crime was committed.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, has expressed optimism that within 90 days, the ministry will secure accommodation to enable the take-off of the Regional Maritime Development Bank(RMDB).
Sambo said this in a statement by the ministry’s Director of Media and Public Relations, Mr Eric Ojiekwe in Abuja on Wednesday.
He made this known at the meeting with the Secretary-General, Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa.
Sambo said: “When I resumed here, I realised immediately that the Regional Maritime Bank is one of the lowest hanging fruits that we can achieve within a very short time. Infact 90 days is too long.
”I observed that all efforts towards getting accommodation via the Central Bank of Nigeria has not yielded any outcomes.
”So I will approach the Attorney General of the Federation to see if one of the forfeited properties can be allocated to the bank.”
Sambo encouraged the Secretary-General, to leverage on MOWCA as a regional organisation to push for Nigeria’s intent of becoming member of Category C in International Maritime Organisation( IMO).
Speaking earlier, the Secretary-General of MOWCA, stated that the idea of RMDB was conceived 11 years ago.
He said it was meant to facilitate single digit interest loans to provide leeway to key players in the sector and enable them compete favourably with their international counterparts.
Adalikwu said:” Eight countries have signed the Charter as required in the document establishing the bank.
”Two weeks ago, DRC Congo also signed making it nine countries. One above the threshold required for the establishment of the Act.
”The organogram of RMDB as adopted by council members has positions of President of the body, Company Secretary and a seat on the board ceded to Nigeria.
”Cameroun is to produce the Vice President 1, and Ivory Coast, Vice President 2, while other member countries are to provide board members for the maritime bank.”
The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, Director, Maritime Services, Babatunde Bombata, Deputy Director, Cabotage and Shipping, Rita Zoaka and others.
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