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The federal government has expressed displeasure over the refusal of the Maritime Organization for West and Central Africa, MOWCA, to appoint a Nigerian as secretary-general despite contributions to its development.

A statement signed by Eric Ojiekwe, leader of Nigeria’s delegation to the 8th Bureau of Ministers and 15th General Assembly of MOWCA in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, said “no member state has supported MOWCA as much as Nigeria, as the records show. Nigeria has contributed over $5million in the last 10 years with the organization not employing a single Nigerian.

“It should be noted that not a single Nigerian has ever been employed in MOWCA. This is the first time that Nigeria has contested for the position of secretary-general of the organization even though it is an uncontested fact that it is essentially the contributions of Nigeria that has sustained the organization over the years,” it said.

This position followed the presentation of over-aged candidates by Guinea and the Republic of Benin for the position of secretary-general.

“Nigeria draws the attention of the General Assembly to MOWCA’s comment as presented by its secretariat in the annotated agenda circulated this week to the Committee of Experts meeting which confirmed that Nigeria is the only country that met the age eligibility criteria that candidates must not exceed 55 years.

‘‘The candidate nominated by Nigeria was 55 years as at when nominations closed in 2020 while the candidates of Guinea was 60 and that of Benin was 62 years old.

“By this, the Nigerian candidate and Director, Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Paul Adaliku was the only eligible candidate and should have been declared unopposed.”

Still expressing displeasure, it added that “the apparent willingness of some member states to consider for elections, candidates who knowingly contravened the age criteria having exceeded the maximum age limit by more than five years in the case of Guinea and seven years by Benin, does not portend well for the reputation and operation of  MOWCA as a rule-based organization.

“It is sad and most depressing given Nigeria’s ardent and consistent support for MOWCA and its activities. 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 the election of the secretary-general of MOWCA.’’

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