Barring any sudden change in the scheme of things, President Mummadu Buhari is scheduled to hold talks both global and African leaders as part of the events marking the third conference of the Association of African Maritime Administration AAMA, slated in Abuja for April 19 to 21, 2017.

The conference with the theme: ‘Sustainable Use of Africa’s Oceans and Seas’, is being organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation IMO, in line with its policy of assisting and enhancing the capacity of maritime administrations in Africa in the adherence and implementation of its instruments.

The President had earlier approved his participation in the conference as the chief host and will also address the conference on certain policy directions of his administration as it concerns the maritime industry in addition to unveiling the new NIMASA brand, which will also feature in the course of the event.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who spoke at the weekend, said that the hosting of the conference is in line with NIMASA’s drive to reposition the nation’s maritime industry with a view to making Nigeria once again, a force to reckon with globally.

According to him, the conference will afford the president the opportunity to address the African maritime stakeholders in particular and the global maritime stakeholders on the reforms so far carried out by the Federal Government, especially in terms of enhancing the ease of doing business in the country.

“The desire of the current management is to transform the agency into the foremost maritime administration in Africa, which was also informed by the need to rebrand it to align with other foremost maritime administrations in the world”.

“The theme is against the backdrop of the African Union’s declaration of year 2015-2025 as the Decade of African Seas and Oceans. We view hosting AAMA as part of our drive to reposition the Nigerian maritime industry, thereby making Nigeria a force to be reckoned with again, globally”, the DG also said.

It was also gathered that the NIMASA management will also on the sidelines of the conference hold strategic sessions to garner support for Nigeria’s bid for category “C” seat on the council of IMO.

The council is the highest decision making body of the IMO, where most of the policy decisions are taken and so Nigeria’s participation will further add value to the economy through participation in critical decision making sessions on global maritime issues.

In addition to the Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, who would be the guest of honour and other global maritime leaders including the European Maritime Association, the event will attract participants from over 32 African countries, notable among them is Chief Executive Officer of South African Maritime and Safety Agency SAMSA, Sobaitu Tilayi and interim chairman of AAMA as well as representatives from Malaysian Maritime Authority.

Also to grace the occasion are the Chief Executive Officer of Maersk Group worldwide, Mr. Soren Skou and the Chief Executive Officer/Commissioner of Liberia Maritime Authority, Dr. James Kodlie, among several others.

Meanwhile, stakeholders in Nigeria’s maritime industry believe that the successful hosting of the conference in Nigeria would further boost her rating among comity of maritime nations and boost confidence in her port system, thereby increasing her chances of emerging hub port for the region.

These maritime experts believe that the conference, which will be a gathering of who is who in the continent’s maritime industry including shipping lines, shipping agents, terminal operators, freight forwarders, importers and exporters Customs brokerage agents and providers of logistic services across the supply chain, would also give rise to meetings and discussions among the various stakeholders across frontiers.