A three-man delegation of auditors from the International Maritime Oganisation IMO, is currently in Nigeria to begin mandatory audit of the nation’s maritime industry and practice protocols.
The audit, which may attract international sanctions if negligence is established, is aimed at improving security on international waterways and to promote standard practice in the sector.
Head of the audit team, Captain Cahit Yakin, who made this known in Abuja at the commencement of a weeklong workshop on International Maritime Organisation member states audit scheme, explained that they are in Nigeria to ascertain among other things, the compliance level to IMO maritime security and efficiency protocols on Nigeria’s international waterways.
“The aim of the audit is not to witch-hunt any country but to create global best practices protocol that will serve the territorial interest of member countries.” Captain Cahit stated.
Also speaking at the event, the Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, stressed that Nigeria is prepared to comply with all recommendations of the IMO, while stating that the Government is fully committed to absolute safety on Nigeria’s international waters, especially now that activities of oil thieves and other criminal elements are depleting the nation’s oil earnings.
Dr.Dakuku noted that Nigeria has always cooperated with the IMO, saying that during the last voluntary audit of member states in the maritime sector, Nigeria gave full support to the body.
The NIMASA boss said the visit of the IMO audit personnel is to help reposition Nigeria as one of the world’s highly strategic players in the maritime sector.
“Nigeria is committed to the vision of the IMO. The Government is determined to ensure Nigeria takes her rightful place in the international Maritime community, and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, has given priority attention to the maritime sector, especially to ensure that our waterways are safe. This we are doing in collaboration with the Nigerian Navy to rid our waterways of all forms of criminality,” he explained.
Chairman, House Committee on Maritime Transport, Hon.Mohammed Bako Umar, in his remark said that the National Assembly remains committed to the safety of lives and property of all citizens, hence the seriousness attached to the IMO audit.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Sabiu Zakari, restated the commitment of the Buhari-led administration to transforming the various sectors of the transport industry.