By Stephen Ubanna
For years, past and present Management of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency,NIMASA, had done everything within their capacity to carry the people of the littoral states along in its operations.
This is evident going by the Statement by Ifeanyi Okowa the, governor of the south-south geo-political region of Delta state, that associating with the Bashir Jamoh, led NIMASA, footprint, had impacted positively on the state in terms of establishment of projects that would give job opportunities to teeming unemployed youths in the state.
Okowa, may have taken advantage of Jamoh’s Courtesy call on him on Thursday, March 4, 2021, to speak out. He had cited the maritime university at Okerenkoko in Gbaramatu local government area of the state which was said to have been established in 2017, during the ADMINISTRATION of Dakuku Peterside, a one-time member of the House of Representatives and who was incidentally a Director General of the agency. Tmulti-million naira maritime university project was said to have been conceived during the Administration of Patrick Akpbolokemi with the support of the then President Goodluck Jonathan but that was how far he could go.
The Delta state governor may have gladdened the heart of Jamoh, the NIMAASA, Director General, when he said the Okerenkoko maritime university project had a ‘’stabilising effect on the people’’. An appreciative Okowa, who could not hide his feelings was said to have also cited the scholarships that had been given the indigenes of the state by the agency to study both within and outside the country on maritime related courses , stressing that the people will continue to identify with NIMASA ’’to continue to do more in the state’’.
Acting like Oliver Twist by, asking for more, hehad asked Jamoh, the NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, to consider it as a matter of urgency to start the agency planned ship repairs and building project in the state, in order to complement the existing maritime university already on ground.
An insider had told The Value News thta Jamoh and members of his Management Team were in the Niger state as part of the on-going sensitization campaign ‘’to get the buy-in of the coastal states in the current attempt to develop the nation’s maritime sector as the pivot of the country’s economic diversification effort with the collapse of oil price in the International market.
That much was also confirmed by Okowa, the Delta state governor, who stated that it is his pleasure ‘’to be part of the stakeholders sensitization drive in terms of the development of the nation’s maritime sector ‘’ which had been neglected over the years because of the huge revenue from the oil sector to lubricate the economy.
An elated Okwa, had said that ‘’there should be a moral and political buy-in from everyone in the littoral states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Ondo Ogun, Imo, Abia, and Cross river including Delta, his home state. He noted that the participation and support of the governments and people of the Niger Delta region are ‘’key actors in the successful development of a robust blue economy of the country’’.
According to him, the nation’s maritime economy’’is a huge treasure trove of development opportunities’’, pointing out that the sector can fetch the country ‘’even much more revenue than the oil sector as shown by recent studies by experts, including the World Bank.
Appealing to the NIMASA as an agency of government, to be on the vanguard of this new move to get the country’s coastal stakeholders on board as ‘’the government wean the country off oil dependence’’, he disclosed that it is the only way to make it a reality.
Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General, may have ken a cue in into the Delta state governor’s presentations to open up on the agency presence in the state. He had confirmed that for the past seven years, the agency had cited two major maritime projects, described as funds consuming in maritime circles in Delta state alone.
He was said to have equally reechoed on the establishment of the maritime university, at Okerenkoko, which the governor had earlier mentioned in his thought provoking speech, , the NIMASA Science and Technological Colleg ate Okoloba and the proposed Shipyard for ship repairs.
The NIMASA CEO, may shocked Nigerians when he said that over a thousand indigenes of the oil rich Delta state had benefited from its overseas scholarship scheme to study maritime related courses. This may have informed why he has called’’ for more participation from the government and people of the state in the harnessing of the enormous maritime potential of the state and the Niger Delta region in general.
Given an insider information, he disclosed that ‘’the opportunities for profitable investment in the sector abound in shipbuilding, ship repairs, ship recycling and shipping’’. The NIMASA helmsman exposure of its established projects in Delta state alone, may have given a clue to the other littoral states, particular, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross river and Ondo, that they have been unfairly treated by the agency, which may put more pressure on it to establish viable projects that would impact positively on the people of their respective states.
Many believe that Past and present Managements of NIMASA, may have paid special attention to the people of Delta state to draw them closer to avoid giving them room to give troubles to the Industry operators, particular, the shipping Companies.
The neglect of the other littoral states may have informed why this the rising Piracy and kidnap of cargo vessels Crew members in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea for ransom. The recent abductions of the Istanbul, Turkey cargo ship, MV, Mozart, off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe, speaks volume.
Lat Saturday, the army said it had rescued 10 foreign workers and four Nigerians who were kidnapped by Pirates , off the coast of Gabon. The rescue operations was said to have been carried out by troops of the sixth division . Maritime analysts had expected the Kidnap incidents in the region to have reduced considerably with the deployment of the agency security assets that had been deployed into the Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea by the agency ,. The assets were delivered by the HLS, Technologies, an Israeli security Company , which had won a $195 million contract to supply the security equipment in 2017 in order to tackle Piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea.