The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi has said that a stable democracy, which is only possible with credible elections, required an equally strong economy to enable the citizens fulfill their individual and collective aspirations.
Akpobolokemi who stated this in his goodwill message to the 10th All Nigerian Editors Conference, which ended in Katsina state at the weekend, expressed optimism that the Nigerian economy was growing in leaps and bounds as demonstrated by increasing volume of trade and foreign direct investment adding that it would experience further growth given the consciousness to further strengthen the country’s democracy.
Represented by the Deputy Director/Head of Public Relations, Mr Isichei Osamgbi, the Director General said the theme of the conference,” Credible Elections and Good Governance, the Role of the Editor”, was quite apt at a time when Nigeria was putting finishing touches to the next general elections.
He said that Nigerians have reasons to be optimistic about the future as the economy had been acknowledged to be on track to become one of the twenty largest economies in the world by 2020.
According to the NIMASA boss, Nigeria had been classified among MINT countries projected to be future economic leader, which included Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey.
Recall that in the year 2000, Nigeria was ranked 52nd in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product at purchasing power parity but the country’s ranking improved to 40th in 2005 and 26th in 2014, making it the largest within Africa.
He said, “Nigeria is recognized as an emerging market with expanding financial service, communications, and entertainment sectors. Its re-emergent manufacturing sector is the third-largest on the continent, and produces a large proportion of goods and services for the West African sub-region. This is why we, at NIMASA play a key role in ensuring that international and local operators have absolute confidence in the Nigerian maritime environment.”
He assured that NIMASA would continue to deliver on its own mandate and explained that the recent Memorandum of Understanding the Agency signed with the Nigerian Air Force to complement that with the Nigerian Navy was a way of further safeguarding the country’s maritime domain.
“As we all know, safety of lives and property is a significant prerequisite for the growth and investment in any institution, sector or society. This is why maritime safety and security is engrained in us in NIMASA. It is a way of life; an aspect that is never compromised”, Akpobolokemi said
He further observed that in order to effectively cover Nigeria and eight other countries under the Regional Maritime Search and Rescue Centre, NIMASA has put in place a robust maritime domain awareness and response system, which led to the birth of the NIMASA Satellite Surveillance Centre.
He continued, “our desire is to provide safety for all those doing business within Nigerian waters. With the NIMASA Satellite Surveillance Centre, the Agency is now able to respond to any distress call on Nigerian waters and even beyond. The new 24-hour Satellite Surveillance equipment has the capability to detect boats, ships and objects of predefined cross-section floating on water”.
He also reiterated the Agency’s commitment to human capacity development, which is demonstrated in the recent launch of the Nigeria Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, to complement the Agency’s sponsorship of maritime institutes in four universities, namely the University of Lagos; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State; and Niger Delta University, Amassoma, Bayelsa State.