By Stephen Ubanna
Kitack Lim, Secretary General, of the United Nations, UN, Maritime Agency, International Maritime Organisation, IMO, who had arrived the country, on Friday, November 19, 2022, on a working visit, may have gladdened the heart of Eng. Muazu Jaji Sambo, minister of Transportation and Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
Eng. Sambo, the minister, of Transportation , who was said to have been accompanied to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, by Magdalene Ajani, the ministry Permanent Secretary , Heads of agencies under the ministry and stake holders from the nation’s maritime industry were said to be on hand to receive the IMO , Secretary General.
Lim, who was hosted to a reception organised for him by the ministry and Industry stakeholders had declared that ‘‘Nigeria as a maritime nation is not only important to African but to the global economy’’. The IMO Secretary General, had confirmed what, Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General had said that this is the first time a sitting IMO, Secretary General, will be visiting Nigeria, in over 15 years. It was not surprising why he is excited to be in Nigeria to rub mind with Industry operators.
. It is instructive to note that the IMO, Secretary General visit to Nigerian which was on the invitation of the ministry appears to have come Jamoh, the Kaduna state born technocrat, is the Head of NIMASA, and piracy in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea, has been reduced to the barest minimum over the last two years, due to the Administration intensified anti-piracy operations.
Jamoh, the NIMASA, Director General, had said that the IMO, top official visit to the country, was an indication that the International Maritime Community has ‘’renewed its confidence in Nigeria’’.An Appreciative Lim, had thanked the minister and his team from the ministry for inviting him to Nigeria. He was said to have also thanked the NIMASA, Chief Executive officer, CEO, and other industry stakeholders for their effort to reposition the nation’s maritime industry that it can compete favourably with any developed economy.
He had said that ‘’Nigeria is blessed with huge potentials, and abundant Natural resources’’. He may have alluded the more than 200 types of mineral raw materials in the country ranging black gold, oil and gas, gold, lead, zinc, limestone, Bentonite, gypsium, Coal, salt, Tin, Kaolin and Manganese , cotton to, oil palm , among others, which aremajor foreign exchange earners.
Lim had said that above all ‘’Nigeria has very nice people’’, stressing that he has pleasant experience from his interactions with Nigerians at the IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom, UK. The Asian country of South Korea, Secretary General of the IMO,had said that his home country ‘‘consider Nigeria a dream land’’ and expresses hope ‘’for more Cooperation between the two maritime nations’’.
Sambo, the minister of Transportation, may have taken advantage of the IMO, Secretary General visit and acting on his directive for the public sector to partner with the private sector to build the global maritime sector, to inform him that the Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, Ship Management Limited, is among the industry stakeholders partnering with the NIMASA, in the %195 million Deep Blue contract which an insider had said also attracted a management fee of $19.5 million .
The IMO, CEO, is expected to witness the Operational Management session of the Deep Blue Project, scheduled as part of the activities of the his visit to Nigeria. It is expected to give the IMO, CEO, a firsthand experience of some Operational activities on NIMASA , which is the focal agency of Nigeria liaising with the UN, Maritime agency under the supervision of the ministry of Transportation , under the close watch of Eng. Ambo.
Note that the contract for the $195 million Deep Blue Project was awarded to HLS Systems and Technologies Limited, an Israeli firm which was said to have delivered 17 Interception Boats,16 armoured vehicles, meant for coastal Patrols, two Special Mission Vessels, two Special Mission Aircrafts, three Helicopters and four unmanned Aerial vehicles, to NIMASA, between 2020 and now.
As part of the contract, the Israeli, was said to have also provided platforms operated by the Nigerian Navy, under the close watch of Vice Awwal Zubairu Gambo, and the Nigerian Air Force , under the supervision Air Marshal Adebayo Olayinka Amao for practical issues in operations and regulations impacting on decarbonisation in shipping in the West and Central African Sub regions, , but which a source confirmed still belong to NIMASA.
Jamoh, the NIMASA, helms man, who has been working effortlessly, to reposition the nation’s maritime industry had repeatedly said that that the current management’s,’’ desire is to continue in its strive to give a new face to the nation’s maritime industry until the country attain a status of not just ‘’the hub of maritime activities in the region but in the global scene’’.