By Stephen Ubanna
Between March 10, 2020, and March 16, 2020, Bashir Jamoh, a former Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and now Director general of the agency appears to have come out with a working agenda on how to refocus the agency in the next four years.
Aware of the shortcomings of patrick Akpobo lokemi and Dakuku Peterside, both politic ians and former Director Generals of the Maritime Regulatory agency at different intervals who did not have a working agenda for the agency, Jamoh appear set to make the difference, being a career Management Staff.
He may have also read the mindset of President Muhammadu Buhari to know what he wants in the nation’s Maritime sector and why he was not pleased with the performance of the duo not to have renewed their appointments at the expiration of their tenures in the agency to develop a working agenda that could be achieved without much trouble.
‘’We have to redirect and refocus our attention major issues’’ he had said. Indeed, he knew where he was going as he was said to have told the Management Team and other senior Staff at their maiden meeting on Monday, March 16, 2020, that he would focus his top priority would be Maritime Safety, Security and shipping Development in the nation’s maritime sector. The NIMASA boss may have known that he would not achieve all that alone that he had solicited the support of the Industry stakeholders to do so.
By Promising to pay attention to maritime Safety and Security, pirates , who have been harassing ocean going vessels and their Crew members on Nigerian water ways and the Gulf of Guninea , may have to watch it as there might be room for them to operate any longer.
Until his exit as the Director General of NIMASA, Peterside had prepared the ground on how to give a decisive blow on the pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea as the country was said to be losing $2.3 million annually to the Criminals. This is evident by the acquisition of two Special Mission Vessels, SMV, DB Lagos and DB Abuja, which security watchers had said were equipped with sophisticated intelligence gathering capability facilities for timely detection and response to illegal activities in the country’s maritime domain.
Insiders told The Value News that besides the acquisition of the SMVs, the former NIMASAmanagement under the close watch of Peterside was also acquired 10 Fast interceptor boats , which had already arrived the country and taken over by the agency.
An elated Peterside, the former Director General , had said that the asset delivery marks a huge victory for the Nigerian maritime sector in the fight against Maritime insecurity. This may have informed why Jamoh could beat his chest that pPirates are in trouble as the maritime assts would be deployed to the country water ways and the Gulf of Guinea to guarantee security of ocean going vessels and their Crew members. Take for instance in the fourth quarter of 2019, 64 seafarers were said to have been kidnapped in different incidents in the west Coast , according to a report by the International Maritime Bureau IMB . Admitted that the NIMASA Director General had set Maritime safety and security as top priority in the agency, he needed to exploit the contacts that had been made Peterside , the former Director General , with the Denmark based Baltic and International Maritime Council, BIMCO, described as a ship Organisation involved in maritime Safety and Security.
He has the opportunity to also exploit the for Director General of the agency T goodwill with the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, INTERtANKO, in order to improve the nation’s Maritime Safety and Security as pledged. Peterside, was said to have established a good working relationship with the Association that they were out to assist NIMASA in tackling insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
Recall that the former NIMASA boss and the Navy had equally established a total Spectrum of Maritime Security Strategy for actualization of the government initiated integrated Maritime Security and Waterways protection. Note that Jamoh was aware of these security arrangements that are fully funded by the agency with the Isreali Company, HLSI as the International Technical partners.
The incumbent NIMASA Director General who has inherited this Maritime Security arrangement which has three components: establishment of the C4i Surveillance System ,response capability and , which had led to the acquision of Maritime Security Assets and Training of personnel to patrol the country’s waters in the xclusive economic zone may have informed why analysts believe that Jamoh would succeed in the actualization his three –point agenda in NIMASA. That much was said by Aminu umar,President , Nigerian Ship Owners Association , NISA, who believes that his understanding of the nation’s Maritime sector was an asset as someone who grew from the ranks of the agency.
Greg Ogbeifun, President Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, believes that the choice of Jamoh, who is an insider, as the Director General of NIMASA, was a good development as he would facilitate the country’s ship development. Already, the new NIMASA, boss had made ship development in the country as a top priority as a way to create jobs in the in the country. He has to prove that he knows what he is doing by continuing from where Peterside had stopped with the planned disbursement of the N72 billion Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF, to boost the nation’s indigenous shipping business.
he should also be seen as continuing the negotiation which the former Director General had started with the African Import-Export Bank, AFREXIM Bank, to assist the indigenous shipping Companies to access a loan facility of $ 500million or N190 billion, going by the current exchange rate of N380.00 to a dollar.
Many believe that given Jamoh’s promise to promote indigenous shipping in the next four years, he would do everything within his powers to ensure that indigenous ship owners have access to funds to acquire new Vessels that would put Nigeria the Map of strong Maritime nations with viable shipping Companies which could compete with Foreign Shipping Lines in lifting the country generated cargo including the wet cargo.
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