DG NIMASA, Stakeholders endorse partnership as key to effective utilization of Africa’s maritime resources


 As they set up Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria

L-R: Barrister (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi, Dr. Chris Asoluka, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, NIMASA Board Chairman, Major General, Jonathan India Garba (rtd.) and President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Engr. Greg Ogbeifun during the 2018 African Day of Seas and Oceans held in Lagos on Wednesday. 

The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has stated that partnership is a crucial element to the effective utilization of Africa’s maritime resources, just as a Committee of Stakeholders was set up to map out strategies to develop Nigeria’s Blue Economy.  

The NIMASA DG who said this on Wednesday during this year’s celebration of the African Day of Seas and Oceans held in Lagos with the theme “Partnership Key to a Sustainable Blue World” noted that the need for countries in the African continent to collaborate had become imperative in order to realize a common goal, geared towards the actualization of the Blue Economy.

In his words, “Our passion for Africa’s partnership inspires our leadership role in the Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA) to continue to innovate with ideas to pull African Maritime Administrations (MARAD) together for sustainable realization of the objectives of the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050 towards a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa where there will be equal opportunity to participate towards economic growth.” 

Speaking further, Dr. Peterside noted that the world is concerned about the sustainable use of the seas and oceans as it is endowed with enormous resources, hence the need for Africa to utilize the opportunities embedded in it.

While using the opportunity to call for more collaboration among Stakeholders in realizing a robust maritime sector in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, he assured that NIMASA would continue to engage and educate the public on the sustainable use of the seas and oceans.     

The event which was well-attended by Stakeholders and experts in the maritime sector also had in attendance the Managing Director, Starz Marine and Engineering Services Limited, Engr. Greg Ogbeifun as the Chairman of the occasion, who said in his opening remarks that the world is beginning to go back to the original creation God blessed mankind with, which is the seas and the oceans.

He noted that Nigeria is at a vantage position with a good geographical location with about 900 km coastline, hence the need to work harmoniously to realize the blueprint of the AIMS 2050 with the overall goal of actualizing the concept of the Blue Economy in Africa for continental economic growth.

Also speaking at the event was Barrister (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi who delivered the lead paper titled; “National Maritime Strategy and the National Maritime Transport Policy Framework: How Far is the Road Yet?” concluded by saying; “For Nigeria to develop a robust and sustainable maritime sector, there is the need to prepare an all-inclusive framework and strategy based on the development strategies of the African Union in line with the AIMS 2050, Agenda 2063, Lome Charter and the African Maritime Transport Charter.” 

In his paper titled; “Developing our Blue Economy as a Critical National Economic Objective: The Partnership Model.” Dr. Chris Asoluka stated that the only way to fully optimize the opportunities embedded in the African seas and oceans was to work collaboratively as a continent, so that we can compete favorably with our counterparts in other continents. He also reiterated the fact that Nigeria’s maritime domain remains a fertile ground waiting to be fully utilized for economic growth and development.

On his part, Professor Babajide Alo an environmental expert who also spoke at the event advised that beyond the annual celebration of the event, partnership strategies to ensure sustainable implementation of the resolutions must be considered so that in the long run all set goals are achieved for the benefit of the entire African continent.
         
At the event, the NIMASA Board Chairman, Major General Jonathan India Garba (rtd.) and the Director General, Nigerian Chambers of Shipping, Barrister (Mrs.) Obiageli Obi in their goodwill messages unanimously agreed that it is important to realize that the world is getting more and more dependent on resources from the seas and oceans, noting that it is the engine for economic growth. They also urged Stakeholders in the maritime industry to work together for the benefit of the actualization of the Blue Economy in Africa. 

The highpoint of the event was the setting up a partnership committee on implementation of sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria to be Chaired by Major General, Jonathan India Garba (rtd) and the Secretary is Dr. Mrs. Felicia Mogo, the Deputy Director, in charge Marine Environment Management of NIMASA. Other members of the Committee includes; Dr. Chris Asoluka, Captain Sunday Umoren amongst others.

The Committee while being inaugurated by Mr. Mike Igbokwe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) was charged to come up a framework for the actualization of the Blue Economy initiative in Nigeria amongst other responsibilities, all geared towards the realization of a robust and virile maritime sector in Nigeria.  
It would be recalled that the 22nd Ordinary Session of Heads of States and Governments adopted the 2050 AIM Strategy and Plan of Action, including a roadmap for the incremental implementation of the strategy in line with International Maritime Law.
The Strategy includes a framework for action on, inter alia: fisheries and aquaculture; environmental and biodiversity monitoring; marine tourism; Disaster Risk Management (DRM); handling and shipment of hazardous materials and dangerous goods; maritime governance; flag state and port state control; and illegal activities, including money laundering, piracy, maritime terrorism and human trafficking and smuggling by sea.
The African Day of the Seas and Oceans was instituted by the African Union in 2015. It seeks to draw attention to the strategic importance of proper management of marine resources for the development of the African continent in a sustainable manner.