ANOZIE EGOLE trails the reason Nigeria left the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa after spending over N2bn in a decade
While calling it quits with the Maritime Organisation for West and Central Africa, the Federal Government of Nigeria blamed disregard for the rules regarding eligibility of candidates nominated for the position of Secretary-General.
The Director, Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Transportation, Eric Ojiekwe, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja.
Meanwhile, investigation by Financial Street has shown that the country, so far, has spent over $5m (about N2bn) in the past 10 years in MOWCA.
Ojiekwe added that the decision was reached at the 8th Bureau of Ministers and 15th General Assembly of MOWCA in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to him, Nigeria’s delegation expressed sadness at the outcome of the meeting, considering the country’s ardent and consistent support for MOWCA and its activities over the years.
“Nigeria, as a nation, must take a stand against the promotion of illegality, disrespect for the rule of law and contravention of the rules regarding election of the Secretary-General of MOWCA.
“Nigeria draws the attention of the General Assembly to the comment of MOWCA as presented by its secretariat in the annotated agenda circulated to the Committee of Experts’ meeting,” he said.
Nigeria, Ojiekwe added, is the only country that met the age eligibility criteria, which put a ceiling at 55 years.
“The candidate nominated by Nigeria was 55 years when nominations closed in 2020, while the candidate of Guinea was 60 years old and that of Benin Republic was 62. By this, the Nigerian candidate, who is the Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Paul Adaliku, was the only eligible candidate and should have been declared unopposed,” he said.
Ojiekwe frowned on the apparent willingness of some member states to consider, for election, candidates that contravene the age criteria.
He noted that no member state had supported MOWCA as much as Nigeria as the records showed.
“Nigeria has contributed more than $5m in the past 10 years, with the organisation not employing a single Nigerian,” he said.
Reacting to this, a maritime sector analyst, Emmanuel Anyebe, lauded the decision of the Federal Government as a step in the right direction.
“I like the decision of the Federal Government. It is a welcome development. We should channel the energy to something else,” he said.
A freight forwarder, Toochukwu Nwaigbo, told Financial Street in Lagos, on Monday, “Nigeria has not really benefitted from membership of some of these international organisations.”
He added that other countries were yet to respect the Economic Community of West African States Trade Liberalisation Scheme.
“This is the problem we are having in this country; neighbouring countries don’t respect our agreements. So, to me, it is a good development,” he said.
According to another industry stakeholder, Mrs Blessing Onowere, though the move is good, the Federal Government should have a rethink to avoid the negative consequences of the decision.
Her words, “I hope we won’t end up regretting the decision. They should think twice before making such a decision. I am in support of it, if we are not benefiting anything from the organisation.”
A financial analyst, Harrison Ogheleson, explained that the attention and money spent so far could be applied in other gainful ventures.
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