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By NBF News
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Nigeria, Ghana and the Republic of Congo are holding an extra-ordinary meeting of the Bureau of the West and Central African Memorandum of Understanding in Abuja as part of the measures drafted by the body to ensure safety of maritime activities in the continent. Transport Ministers and other delegates from the three African countries started the crucial meeting yesterday in Abuja despite the failure of about 13 other member countries to attend the meeting.

Declaring the meeting open, chairman of the group tagged Abuja MoU and Merchant maritime of the Republic of Congo, Mr. Martin Parfait Aime who spoke in French expressed concern over the growing in security of maritime activities in some parts of Africa and the West and Central Africa memorandum on the Ports state control on the need to modernize the ports system to meet international standards.

Nigeria's minister of transport, Suleiman Yusuf in his address at the opening session of the meeting said the present administration in the country is paying a lot of attention towards the development and modernization of maritime activities in Nigeria.

Ghana's deputy minister of transport, Mrs Dzifa Aku Attivor lamented that the regional organization has not been able to address the problems of sub-standard ships within the region thereby ensuring maritime safety and security, protection of the maritime environment against ship-source pollution and improving the working and living condition of ships' crew despite the over ten years of the organization's existence.

'Even though the Abuja MoU was adopted in 1999, it is still not fully operational. A good number of the countries which signed the MoU on in 1999 have not yet formally accepted it. That means they do not contribute to the running of the MoU secretariat and information centre. Even for those countries which have formally accepted the MoU, contributions are not regular,' she said.

An agreement tagged Abuja MoU was signed by 16 member countries from the West and Central African sub-regions on October 22, 1999. The Abuja MoU provides for the provision of safe and secured maritime activity in the continent.