By Stephen Ubanna
For much of Thursday, September 10, 2023, Maritime stakeholders had gathered at the Lague of Maritime Editors, popular, LOME, Secretariat at FESTAC, slated for Commissioning. The 20 -member Association was said to have used the opportunity of the presence of the industry key holders to organise the first roundtable at the secretariat on the Blue Economy which was said to be very revealing.
Although the Association had expected Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Bashir Jamoh, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency , NIMASA and Emmanuel Jime, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, and Mohammed Bello Jibo, an Assistant Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and Coordinator, Lagos Zonal Office, to be at the al important event but they were said to have –
Josephine Moltok, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications , NPA, who was said to have been mandated to represent the Authority Chief Executive Officer, CEO, at the LOME event was said to have used her position to convince Buba Jubril , Port Manager, Tin can Island Port Complex , who is on the ground to accompany her to the event in order to make a presentation on behalf of the agency that was said to have been moderated by Olayiwola Shittu, Chairman , Skelas Nigerian Limited and a former Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents , ANLCA.
Given his outstanding contribution to the nation’s maritime industry, he was appointed the LEAGUE’s Patron and operating in that Capacity has performed the first function of cutting the tape to declare open the Association’s Secreatriat for official use and moderated the first official assignment of Roundtable at the Secretariat.
. There is no gain saying the fact that at the LOME Round table, the Representatives of the CEOs, of the NPA, NIMASA, and NSC, gave a good account of themselves that their absence were not much felt. The Association’s Organising Committee, had assigned different topics to the CEOs, to ensure that justice is done. The NIMASA, CEO, Jamoh, described as the originator of the Blue Economy in Nigeria was said to have been asked to speak n ‘’Collaborations, key to optimizing Comparative Advantages of the Blue Economy’’ while Belo- Koko, the NPA, helmsman had the mandate to speak on’’ Behavioural Change will facilitate the progress of Sustainable Blue Economy’’. Jime, the NSC, boss, had spoken on’’ Nigeria’s Ocean is blessed with abundance of Blue Economy resources’’ .
Given the high level of maturity exhibited by the LEAGUE members at the event may have informed why Isiechei Osamgbi, Director, External Relations and Representative of the NIMASA, Director General had urged the Leadership of LEAGUE to endeavour to invite the younger generation Journalists for such a forum in the future to learn.
speakers at the LEAGUE roundtable may have gladdened the heart of participants, particular, the Journalists as they had enunciated fresh measures to be adopted to ensure to ensure that the Blue Economy project , which has turned out to be ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and placed on the shoulders of Adegboyega Oyetola, a former governor of Osun state by President Bola Tinubu , contributes meaningfully to the development of the Nigerian economy.
Jubril, Port Manager, Tincan Island port complex may have set the ball rolling when he said that the Blue economy project had been operational in the country over the years but required the proper identification of Comparative advantages of the agencies for the purpose of developing it and ensure that it is sustainable.
The Tican Island port Manager who had represented the NPA Managing Director at the LEAGUE Forum had advocated enhanced capacities ‘’to fully develop the Blue economy project through deliberate policy and stakeholders actions necessary to drive the processes’’.
Applauding the LOME, for providing the opportunity for industry stakeholders to brainstorm on the dynamics of the Blue Economy, stated that the Authority had already prepared the grounds for its take-off consistent with the full realization, stressing that that ‘’the Authority will always provide the enabling environment through the required efficiencies, as well as develop the competencies and capacities and ensure that it is sustained.
He recalled that the agency know where’’ we are coming from and still remember the era of the warfare at the port where the Authority used to have women give births at the port and all that. He averred that the Authority in its quest for excellence in 1993 had declared that ‘’, look , we cannot continue to remain like this’’. The Tincan Island Port Complex Manager , who may be retiring in the next two weeks had said that ‘’it was consciously or unconsciously the way of re-wakening the Blue Economy . Hear him . it is only that it didn’t get the name the Blue Economy.
He may have paved the way for Osamgbi, the Director External Relations, who had represented Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General, to take the floor to speak on Collaborations , key to Optimizing Comparative Advantages of the Blue Economy.
The NIMASA. External Relations Director may have spoken the mind of the Director General when he said that ‘’the Blue Economy is unflding’’ , stating that ‘’it is at the stage where Collaboration of efforts , must concentrate at optimizing the Comparative Advantages in order to remain competitive in global space’’.
He had challenged the industry operators ‘’to see themselves as co-drivers in the journey towards the success of the Blue Economy’’ , insisting that without this ‘’the success story of the Idea as developed by the agency cannot be complete’’.
The NIMASA Director who could not hide his feelings had said that ‘’the country must tell itself the home truth that the Blue Economy is in the front row potential in resource growth and as one of the leading revenue source of the nation and should be accorded the right attention to drive its explorations’’.
He reiterated that ‘’today we are no longer talking about the benefits of the Blue Economy as the country has passed that conception stage , noting that ‘’the current discussions should be focussed on how ‘’to tap into the various strata , the unfolding of the separate goldmines as enshrined in the NIMASA Act’’.
This may have informed why he had said that ‘’we need to do more collectively to improve on our individual spheres of contribution to achieve a sustainable template that will create the much expected beneficial impact’’. He reiterated that that the efforts of the maritime regulatory agency remains ‘’to strengthen maritime security, maritime safety and ship development of the country’’.
HThis is in addition to developing ‘’the country’s maritime tourism, and cruise transportation, which are key considerations which the agency, he had said will keep expanding’’. He has made it clear to those that cares to listen that ‘’the time has come to maximize the country’s abundance in the Blue Economy and be able to operationalize their economic befits by looking at the Comparative Advantages that each resource provides’’
. An elated Osamgbi who is happy over the efforts being put in by NIMASA to actualize the dream of the Blue Economy project over the last three years had said that ‘’ the country must be determined and focused’’.
According to him,’’ Nigeria is not the first to be faced by maritime security challenges, alluding to the fact that ‘’ Singapore which have had security challenges had developed a niche for the Blue Economy market’’. He had said that for the West African country to get that level of development ‘’we must have ‘’the political and operational will to tackle the security challenges as top of the identified monster.
Jime, The NSC, Executive Secretary, who was said to have been represented by Cajetan Agu, the agency’s Director , Consumer Affairs Department had described the Blue Economy as having ‘’huge economic potentials that should be harnessed by all’’.
Describing Nigeria as a blessed country in terms of the abundance of the Blue Economy resources, Agu, who has the mandate of the agency CEO, to speak on his behalf at the LEAGUE’s Forum had pointed out that that ‘’the opportunities embedded in the Blue Economy were so much that it has become the project of the African Union, AU’’.
The NSC, Executive Secretary’s Representative had revealed some of the potentials of the Blue Economy project as shipping, fisheries, under water mining, cruise transportation, and tourism. He had said that in the realization of the Blue Economy project may have informed why the AU, sees it as a project which no African country will be able to handle alone because of ‘’the issue of security’’.
Agu may have shocked participants at the LEAGUE Forum when he stated that ‘’the criminals move around in different territorial waters and s such ‘’the Blue Economy needs to be implemented together’’. He disclosed that the AU, had developed a model on the Blue Economy project after studying the potentials embedded in it, adding that for the Union, ’’it is the rebirth of African rennaisance’’
He admitted that Hamoh led Management of NIMASA, has been able reduce to the barest minimum the activities of piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, thus giving a breather to the foreign ocean vessels plying the sea.
Timothy Okorocha-Paul, the LEAGUE President, had to participants at the Association’s inaugurated monthly roundtable Forum at the Secretariat will continue’’ to provide the missing nexus in the nation’s maritime industry, with regardsto developmental Journalism and the essential advocacy that nations depend upon to nurture their peculiar circumstances and build their capacities’’.