Posted by News Express | 25 July 2017 | 2,559 times
At a well-attended event by stakeholders and experts in the maritime sector to commemorate this year’s “Africa Day of Seas and Oceans,” the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside disclosed that Africa seas and oceans possessed huge economic opportunities that could take the continent to the next level.
Speaking further, Dr. Peterside said decade of Africa’s Seas and Oceans declared by the African Union (AU) from 2015-2025 should be perceived as a shift in perspective that recognised the fact that the continent's oceans and seas are economic infrastructure, necessitating the need for stakeholders in the sector to work together to realise the opportunities embedded in the sector.
“It is a well-known fact that Africa seas and oceans are usually overlooked when it comes to issues of sustainable development in Africa, to the extent that Africa is considered to be sea blind; sea blind because there is low level awareness of the potentials for wealth creation which abounds in the seas and oceans. This event therefore tends to show that our eyes are gradually being opened to the reality that our seas and oceans possess huge source of economic resources that can take the continent to the next level,” the DG said.
While describing this year’s theme titled, “Harnessing African Maritime Potentials for Sustainable Development” as very apt, Peterside noted that it was in line with the overall goals of Africa’s Agenda 2063 which was aimed at ushering in the desired Africa with the capacity to generate wealth from sustainable governance of its seas and oceans.
He also assured stakeholders that NIMASA, as the maritime regulatory Agency, had considered it necessary to continue championing the awareness on Africa Integrated Maritime-Strategy and the Blue Economy through the Day of the Seas and Oceans and other sensitisation programmes the Agency would still embark upon.
Peterside also used the opportunity to inform participants that NIMASA was championing the passage of a dedicated anti-piracy law aimed at tackling piracy and all forms of illicit crimes on the nation’s waterways.
Accordingly, he stated that “the desire of the government is to ensure cleaner oceans and to eliminate sea piracy, armed robbery and all forms of illegalities within Nigeria’s maritime space which is in line with the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS).”
He further observed that "our seas and oceans are our heritage and we must do all we can to protect it." pointing out that NIMASA would continue to work together with all relevant government agencies to ensure that the Nigerian maritime sector was safe, clean and secured in order to continue to attract both local and foreign investors.
Professor Charles Ukeje, who delivered a paper titled, “Securing the African Marine Environment for Sustainable Development” noted that harnessing and sustainable use of Nigeria's oceans and seas are the key to unlocking prosperity for the economy. He however pointed out that that could not be done by NIMASA alone, but by effective planning which must cut across public and private sectors of the economy on a long term basis, including a well trained personnel.
Dr. Magnus Chidi Onuoha, who spoke on the theme: “Harnessing Resources from Seas and Oceans for the African Youth Empowerment”, identified people, prosperity and the planet as the keys to sustainable development of the maritime sector in Africa and said that the marine environment was key to the nation's survival.
Other speakers at the event, presided over by Mr. Norrsion Quakers, SAN unanimously called for collaborative and concerted efforts among stakeholder in actualising a virile maritime sector.
•Photo shows, L-R; Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Boss Mustapha; Chairman of NIMASA Board, Major General India Garba (Rtd.); Chairman of the Occasion, Mr. Norrison Quakers, SAN; Director General, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside; and the Executive Director, Operations, NIMASA, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, FNSE, at the African Day of the Seas and Oceans celebration in Lagos.
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