The Federal Government is making moves to remove Nigeria from the list of war risk countries, which has been making ships coming into the country to continue charging higher freight due to the high insurance premium charged by underwriters.
Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on maritime matters, Olugbenga Leke Oyewole, who disclosed this to **Daily Independent**, said the country also needs to move against international shipping community so that Nigeria can be removed from the list.
He corroborated the assertion by the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziakede Akpobolokemi, that the country’s piracy rating was a product of international conspiracy.
Nigeria is ranked second after Somalia, in terms of sea piracy, a justification for placing the country on war risk zone, and this has adversely affected the nation’s international trade, making the people to pay extra charges on goods coming into the country.
Oyewole, who is worried about the ranking despite government’sefforts in drastically reducing incidences of pirate attacks within its waters, said the country has the largest population in the sub-region, and more ships are likely going to come into the country. “A ship that takes a car to Cotonou port can take 300 dollars more to come to Nigeria port. That tells you that it is fertile to continue to blackmail Nigeria to ensure that they keep collecting this money.”
He said, “piracy happens about once in five months in Nigeria as against what it used to be in the past. President has tried in this regard, are we not qualified to be removed from such list? But it has continued, that is what the NIMASA DG is referring to as conspiracy. We also need to begin to move against them to remove our names from the list.”
The Nigerian Insurers Association said the premium collected from Marine and Aviation insurance lumped together was N16.5 billion in 2008, N18.7 billion in 2009, N21.5 billion in 2010 and N23.4 billion in 2011. The 2012 figure is still being compiled.
Nigeria plays host to a lot of maritime shipping activities and is a veritable hub for various robust maritime businesses in the South and West African sub-region because it is maritime nation and not a landlocked nation. Its economy is heavily dependent on the export of its crude oil, liquefied natural gas, solid minerals and agricultural products and also the importation of equipment, machinery, raw materials for local manufacture and also manufactured products for domestic consumption.
Information from Daily Independent was used in this report.