Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki flanked from the right by WISTA Nigeria President, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke, WISTA Nigeria Abuja Co-ordinator, Mrs. Edith Obi and WISTA Nigeria Secretary, Mrs. Chizoba Anyika and member, Mrs. Uju Okagbue when Ezeoke led the executives of the association to pay a courtesy visit to Saraki in Abuja…recently.

Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki and the executives of Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), Nigeria have reiterated their determination to collaborate in the attainment of set goals and objectives.

Saraki and the WISTA Nigeria executives made this public when the executives of the association led by its President, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke paid the minister a courtesy visit at Dipharima House, the corporate headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Abuja recently.

They expressed their readiness to join forces to harness the huge potentials in the maritime industry, especially on the delivery of what Ezeoke called the “WISTA Projects”.

According to Ezeoke, the visit was part of its consultations and plans to hold WISTA annual luncheon and magazine launch. As an association, we identified the need for more capacity building, collaborations and strengthening partnerships with relevant individuals and organisations so as to enhance its mandate.

Apparently giving more insight to the purpose of the visit, she said: “We embarked on the visit to brief the Honourable Minister on WISTA activities and seek guidance on women empowerment projects the association has earmarked to undertake within the transport industry. This meeting provided an opportunity for the association to enlighten Her Excellency on WISTA International’s existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to seek your views regarding technical and other assistance for women in the Industry given the available data of under representation in key leadership positions”.

She recalled that WISTA International has a consultative status with IMO to formally contribute and seek ways of increasing capacity in the maritime industry.

A statement by WISTA Nigeria, Secretary, Mrs. Chizoba Anyika stated that the meeting with Saraki reflected on Nigeria’s place in taking up a vintage position at the IMO where it is being relegated to the background despite the huge global economic impact it is making in international maritime space.

According to the statement which was made available to Maritime Bits, the visit afforded the association and Saraki to deliberate on WISTA’s role as a critical component in promoting women in the industry, both on shore side and shipboard and also discussed on ways to showcase various technical and leadership skills women bring to the industry. 

“WISTA International has a mandate to facilitate the implementation of IMO Resolution A 31 Res 1147 on preserving the legacy of the world maritime theme 2019 and achieving a barrier-free work environment for women in the maritime industry. WISTA therefore established a focus group made of IMO established regional women in Africa to strengthen collaboration and share best practices in the industry. The African Free Trade Agreement and gender gap is topical for WISTA as it seeks to share ideas on ways to promote diversity, inclusion and empower women in shipping so as to provide a sustainable future. 

“WISTA International is an active participant at IMO’s Technical Co-operation Committee and is playing an increasing role at other technical committees on maritime environmental protection and maritime safety, where applicable.

The question is how to strategically return Nigeria to Category C of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council. It was unanimously agreed that efforts towards addressing the nation’s safety and security challenges especially piracy, is commendable and should be intensified in dealing with the nation’s safety and security challenges”, the statement added.

According to the statement, in the area of capacity building she advised women to take advantage of the Cabotage Act which is primarily put in place to enhance and increase indigenous capacity of which disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) is imminent. WISTA members who seek funding are therefore encouraged to take advantage of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) as a group. When properly organised, it can actively participate in shipping business like fishing and barge operations. 

Apparently impressed with the presentation of Ezeoke and her entourage, Saraki expressed her readiness to support the association proposed projects and planned WISTA Nigeria luncheon slated for July 2021 in Lagos.

The minister pledged her unflinching support to ensure that the industry utilises industry’s latent talents of professional for the sustainability of the sector.

Apart from Anyika, WISTA Abuja Co-ordinator, Mrs. Edith Obi, Mrs. Uju Okagbue and other members in the Ministry of Transportation were part of Ezeoke’s delegation on the courtesy visit to Saraki in her office.

With chapters in several countries across the globe, WISTA is an organization for women in management positions involved in the maritime transportation business and related trades worldwide.

The association serves as a connector for its network of over 3,800 female professionals from all sectors of the maritime industry across the globe.


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