The Secretary-General of the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu has won the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) 2022 award of excellence.
The award of excellence came as the result of his noteworthy achievements in reorganizing MOWCA and bringing its member states together through personal visits, dialogues, and collaborative efforts.
According to a statement by AMJON’s president, Paul Ogbuokiri, the SG who just completed a year in office, has also brought the organization closer to other international bodies like the International Maritime Organization (IMO) through the recent MoU signed in London, which bodes for a brighter future in the maritime industry. This cohesion also shows encouraging prospects for the Regional Maritime Development Bank and other MOWCA programmes.
“Thus far, it is our view that MOWCA member states have become more united in addressing the common maritime challenges affecting states within the region,” AMJON said. “Without any doubt, your leadership has brought change and ushered in a more vibrant and reassuring leadership for maritime development in the West and Central African region.”
It was for all of these that AMJON deemed it fit to honour the MOWCA SG with the “Dynamic Maritime Leadership Award 2022”.
The award was conferred at the 2022 AMJON Conference/Awards ceremony, themed: Maximizing Nigerian Blue Economy Through Automation, which took place on Monday December 19, 2022 at the Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
Adalikwu who was represented at the event by Ismail Aniemu, his Media Adviser, thanked the organisers for bringing the blue economy issue into the front burner of national discourse.
He noted that Nigeria has made significant progress with regards to maritime security and promotion of trade in the Gulf of Guinea.
He said we cannot have a sustainable blue economy that promotes trade and investment opportunities without guaranteed security. I must commend the Nigerian government and it’s agencies like NIMASA for this laudable feat.
According to him conversations around blue economy with a blend of automation will promote job creation, security and other important areas of national, sub regional and continental interests.
“Prior to my assumption of office as Secretary General of MOWCA, I was indeed involved in the design and implementation of Nigeria’s deep blue project and assets commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari for enhanced maritime security. I did while serving as Director of Maritime Safety and Security in the Federal Ministry of Transportation. I equally was the supervising Director for NIMASA and served concurrently on their Board.
“Aside personally witnessing the commissioning first hand here in Lagos, I have kept abreast with the laudable outcomes of the deployment of these assets over time. We are proud that maritime criminality is near zero in the region as reported by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
“MOWCA under my watch is pleased to endorse the Nigerian model for maritime security and has recommended same to other West and Central African countries.
“It is gratifying to note that other African countries have shown zeal to learn from Nigeria in this regard and with time criminals in our regional maritime domain will have no hiding place. Plans are underway to adopt Nigeria’s Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offenses (SPOMO) Act by MOWCA member states.
“The invaluable contributions of the deep blue assets to the reduction of maritime crimes backed by a unique statute (Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences, SPOMO Act), cannot therefore be over emphasised.
“Safety of vessels, cargoes and crew members across any maritime area is the first major step in promoting trade and investment with assurances of profitable returns. Indeed, Nigeria is leading the way in this direction.
“Conversations around blue economy issues speak to job creation, economic stability and further opening up our region to the international trading community.
“Bringing automation into the issue will further integrate stakeholders with common purpose to share information and timely respond to demands of the industry.
“This automation is part of what our MOWCA Centre for Information and Communication(CINFOCOM) is gearing towards achieving for the benefit of all member states.
“In the nearest future, MOWCA hopes to interface online and real time with all our relevant maritime administrations for update, information sharing and engender quick action where and when necessary for safe, pollution free and cost effective shipping in our region and across Africa.
“I want to urge government agencies in the region and trusted development partners to consider more seamless integration through automation of their processes on common platforms as a way of achieving faster collaboration, quicker information sharing and prompt response time to emergencies
“This will also reduce and ultimately eliminate the incidents of Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (UII) Fishing which is one way our marine resources are being stolen thereby leaving potentially rich African maritime states poorer than they ought to be” the SG said