The Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has disclosed that a safe, secure and efficient shipping industry is necessary to revitalize and diversify Nigeria’s economy.
This is as he noted, that the importance of ensuring a safe maritime domain cannot be over emphasized, as it is important in shifting the country’s dependence away from crude oil exploration to a maritime hub.
The Minister disclosed these on Tuesday, in a keynote address at the 2018 World Maritime Day celebration in Lagos which had the theme: “IMO 70: Our heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future”.
He noted also, that the promotion of sustainable maritime development as expressed in the theme of this year’s celebration will stimulate the development of new technologies and innovation, agile maritime security platforms and the development of the maritime infrastructure.
According to the Minister, Nigeria as a member-state of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is responsible for ensuring safety and security of shipping and protection of the marine environment.
He informed that over the years, IMO’s mandate had expanded to include but not limited to: environmental considerations, legal matters, technical cooperation and maritime security which affect the overall efficiency and effectiveness of shipping in Nigeria.
Furthermore, the Minister disclosed that among the most recent achievements of the IMO is the adoption of the Initial Strategy on the Reduction of Greenhouse emission from ships, which is a policy commitment, targeted at completely phasing-out the Greenhouse Gas emissions from ships, in line with the goals of the Park Agreement.
On the issue of security, the Minister noted that for effective contribution of shipping activities to the development of Nigeria’s economy, “there is urgent need to curb and combat these illegal maritime activities in our waters as these crimes continue to constitute impediments to economic development”.
The first paper, “Effective Maritime Security and Safety for Sustainable Maritime Development”, presented by the representative of the Inspector General of Police, Assistant Inspector of Police Mr. Rasheed Akinjide, revealed that the Police Force is statutorily mandated to ensure internal security, as such its policing of Nigerian waters is restricted to inland navigable waterways, adding that its Officers and men conduct 24 hours patrol to ensure security of lives and property on such waters.
The IGP mentioned poor partnership by the local communities, inadequacy of infrastructure and lack of skilled manpower as some of the challenges militating against police efforts at maintaining safe and secure maritime environments.
The second paper titled: Maritime Industry as a Social-economic Enabler in Nigeria presented by Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi, stressed that maritime Industry has multiplier effects on the development of other sectors and induces sectorial growth directly or indirectly.
“Maritime is key to diversification of Nigeria’s economy, it features prominently in any plans for sustained economic growth through the trade of manufactured goods. It continues to provide employment opportunities to Nigerians and also serve as a trading ground for many of Nigeria’s Masters Marine and other professionals”, she said.
Furthermore, the next paper which had the title:” Maritime Technical Development and Operation”, delivered by Engr. Emmanuel Ilori, a Maritime Engineer enumerated the goals to include among others: improving Nigerian Maritime technical capacity training scheme to deliver sustainable international technical manpower as well as support national technical development; raise industrial confidence to stimulate local growth and achieve fitness for purpose of core services and enhance Nigeria’s technical status at International Maritime Organization (IMO).