Nigeria committed to implement IOPC fund

Nkechinyere Itodo, Abuja


In realization of the need to protect and preserve its marine environment, Nigeria says it would begin the implementation of the ratified 1992 International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Fund and the International Civil Liability Convention (ICLC).

In a statement released after a recent meeting at the National Standing Committee on IOPC Fund implementation, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the Agency is working to free the marine environment from the different pollutions that plague it so as to improve the life styles of dwellers of the coastal communities.

This entails preventing and controlling pollution from all sources, including ship-based and land-based”, he said.

The DG explained that IOPC was established by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to compensate victims of oil pollution and also for government to receive reimbursements for the cost of oil spill clean-up exercises done.

The statement also said that “the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, tasked NIMASA and other relevant agencies to develop strategic implementation plan that will curb incidences of marine pollution as well as effectively compensate victims when it occurs”.

Last week, the Federal Government had commenced a national environment stakeholders’ dialogue to review the 1981 Abidjan Convention with a view to addressing coastal and marine environmental challenges in the country.

At that convention, the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed told delegates that high dependence on natural resources had placed tremendous pressures on the ecosystems which increasingly compromise their sustainability, hence there is a need for expertise views on how best to refine the obsolete convention to bring about effective management of pollutions, especially as they relate to climate change.

Mrs Mohammed said the Nigerian coastal and marine environment account for over fifty per cent of the country’s economy, which will enhance the socio-economic development in diverse ways such as revenue generation, tourism, employment creation among others.

The Abidjan Convention to which Nigeria is signatory, is a cooperation on the Protection and Management of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa Region.