…Says maritime in Nigeria, globally under siege
The federal government has said that efforts should be geared towards drumming up the need for regional and sub-regional collaboration at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) meetings and at other fora for integrated maritime security strategy in addressing the challenges of insecurity.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha who made this statement in an address to mark this year’s World Maritime Day Celebration in Lagos recently said that maritime crime was an organized crime with elements all over the world adding that the maritime domain was vulnerable and that ensuring its security was certainly beyond the capacity of one country or any existing regional body acting alone.
Represented by the Minister of State for Works, Engr. Mustapha Baba Shauri, Mustapha stated that in spite of the numerous recorded achievements in industry, the maritime industry in Nigeria and globally had come under siege by criminal elements who orchestrated act of piracy, sea robbery, arms proliferation, terrorism, migration, illegal and unregulated fishing and oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea and within Nigeria’s territorial waters.
He added that the gains recorded via dredging, amnesty and port concession exercises in Nigeria nosedived due to this unfortunate scenario thus compelling some foreign shipping companies to request government’s approval to enter Nigeria’s territorial waters with armed security personnel on board.
“Thankfully, government is not taking the issue of safety and security in the maritime sector lightly. Like the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg, the maritime industry must be protected to attract foreign investors and also preserve Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
“Permit me to commend the Federal Ministry of Transportation for confronting the matter with all the seriousness it deserves. I am aware that a contract has been awarded for the Integrated National Security and Water Protection Infrastructure in Nigeria under the Deep Blue Sea project. This project entails the provision of security infrastructure and training of personnel for the protection of the Nigeria’s maritime domain. It is envisaged that this project will comprehensively address the emerging cases of insecurity in the maritime industry and restore investors’ confidence.
“The present and future growth and development lie in an improved shipping environment where safety and security of goods, services, seafarers and shipping community as a whole is guaranteed. The IMO has again remained resolute in evolving strategies to facilitate efficient shipping and as such, member countries should cultivate the benefit of the blue economy concept through creativity, innovativeness and collaboration”, he said.
The SGF noted that the present administration had taken great steps to tackle the various challenges bedeviling the maritime sector which according to him included, reviving the patronage of indigenous shipping companies which he said had collapsed or gone comatose, devise ways to address the Tincan Island and Apapa gridlock which according to him had caused a lot of lamentation from people doing business, working or resident in the commercial zone, well as encouraged the Ministry of Transportation and NIMASA to manage the cabotage shipping regime properly to alleviate the untold hardship of the local shipping communities as well as implement all government policies.
Others includes; encourage the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) to be disbursed to indigenous shipping companies to improve on their fleet expansion, promote the Ease of Doing Business Policy at the nation’s ports with the appointment of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the economic regulator with which he said that the multinational shipping agencies and some terminal operators are resisting, resolve the issue of freight forwarding transaction fees as well as the sharing formula which the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) was already handling this.
He however said,” Our worries are mitigated when we consider that Nigeria is endowed with knowledgeable industry players who are adequately equipped in the diverse industry related services such as seafaring, maritime law, maritime administration and maritime education among others to provide requisite and technical professional support necessary to reposition the industry.
“The various reforms being implemented in the maritime industry including the academic and institutional reforms at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron plus the annual World Maritime Day celebration is capable of stimulating the prerequisite to change the policy direction that can bring about leading the organization and gradual but steady transformation of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron and provide safe maritime future for Nigeria as well”.
Photo: From Left: The Managing Director National Inland Waterways Authority, Senator Olorunibe Mamora, The Director General NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, The Minister of State for Works, Engr. Mustapha Baba Shauri and the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation Mr. Sabiu Zakari at the 2018 World Maritime Day Celebration in Lagos Tuesday.
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