Rev. Jonathan Nicole, President, Shippers Association of Lagos, says maritime sector issues made Nigeria to lose a bid to secure a seat in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council.

Nicole made the disclosure  in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Saturday.

He urged the Federal Government  to urgently resolve the issues which, he said,  gave the sector a bad name.

NAN reports that  Nigeria on Friday lost  election into Category  C of the IMO, after years of failed efforts to rejoin the elitist group of maritime nations since it lost  re-election bid in 2011.

The new members of Category C are Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and Vanuatu.

Those who joined  Nigeria as losers are South Africa, Kuwait and Peru. The new entrants are Vanatu, Qatar and Saudi Arabia

Winners in Category A are China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States.

Winners in Category B are Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and United Arab Emirates.

According to Nicole, insecurity is tarnishing Nigeria’ image.

He said that in spite of huge presence of the government with war ships in the Gulf of Guinea, pirates were still operating with impunity.

“Trading platform is almost militarised, shippers are porous, fishing industry is threatened by pirates.

“All these are issues that need to be resolved by the government.

`’We have to make sure that all the aforementioned issues, including  intimidation of key service providers, should be eliminated in our maritime industry,” he said.

Nicole  added that closure of Nigeria’s border  might have made it to lose support of Francophone communities.

He urged that Nigeria should carry out a thorough conflict resolution toward getting the support of Francophone countries.