IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos has urged the Government of Nigeria to intervene to help reduce the incidence of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Guinea and in the waters off the coast of Nigeria.
‘Mr. Mitropoulos took the opportunity of a wide-ranging meeting with Nigeria’s new Minister of Transport, Mr. Ibrahim Bio, which took place today (20 February 2009) at the IMO Headquarters in London, to stress that urgent action was needed to assure the international maritime community of Nigeria’s commitment to address the problem on a priority basis. Mr. Bio pledged to pass the Secretary-General’s message on the issue to the Nigerian President. He also informed Mr. Mitropoulos that, as part of Nigeria’s efforts to resolve the problem, the Government had created a special Ministry – the Niger Delta Ministry – which had been given full powers to address, among other topics, the problem of militancy and piracy. He added that, in 2008, Nigeria had organized an international conference on piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Niger Delta region and that an action plan, agreed at the Conference, was currently being implemented.The visit, the first to IMO by the newly-appointed Transport Minister, was convened to help strengthen the working ties between Nigeria, an IMO Council Member, and the Organization. It covered a broad range of topics.