Mr. Tafida was unanimously elected in London by the heads of delegation to the assembly at the opening of the general assembly.
It is the first time a Nigerian will occupy the prestigious position.
Reacting to the development, the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar, in London, said it was a big achievement for the country and indeed for West and Central Africa.
“It is a prestige and a mark of recognition and a trust in the ability of Nigeria.
“As Vice President of the IMO, Nigeria will play a significant role in the affairs of the international organisation because in the absence of the President, the Vice will preside over its meetings,” he said.
The minister noted the cordial relationship between Nigeria and the IMO, adding that “the relationship between the country and IMO has been mutually beneficial.
“IMO holds Nigeria in high esteem because of our numerous contributions to its activities.
“Nigeria is one of the leading countries that send candidates to the World Maritime University in Sweden and indeed the IMO values that and takes it important.’’
In his reaction, Ziakede Akpoblokemi, the Director-General of the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said Mr. Tafida’s election meant a vote of confidence on Nigeria.
Mr. Akpoblokemi, who was represented at the general assembly by Haruna Baba-Jauro, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration in NIMASA, said safety in the Gulf of Guinea remained a top priority for the IMO.
“The outgoing President of the General Assembly is concerned about safety in the Gulf of Guinea, even though progress had been made in some areas; the Gulf of Guinea remains a challenge.
“For us as an agency, it is a challenge and we will continue to synergise with others to ensure safety, although the waters are actually safer now.’’
The General Assembly opened on November 25 to close on December 4 at the IMO headquarters in London.
[Hellenic Shipping News]