Stakeholders have commended the initiatives and approach that Dr. Dakuku Peterside has brought to bear on his leadership of the foremost maritime regulatory Agency, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
At a well attended celebration of the ‘African Day of the Seas and Oceans’ hosted by NIMASA in Lagos, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ahmed Rufai Sani observed that since taking over as the Director General, Dr. Peterside has initiated strategies aimed towards making the Agency more effective and efficient in the discharge of its mandate.
Represented by Senator Solomon Adeola, Senator Sani who noted that oceans are a critical part of the biosphere that must be conserved for the future also said that the Committee was prepared to support the administration of Dr. Peterside within the ambit of its legislative powers to further impact positively on the Nigerian maritime industry.
According to him, “what NIMASA is doing under the leadership of Dr. Peterside is commendable and as a Committee, we will give NIMASA the necessary legislative backing in terms of amendments to the existing laws and enhanced appropriation that is necessary for the Agency to effectively carry out its regulatory activities”.
In the same vein, the Chairman of the occasion, Emeritus Professor Dagogo Fubara who highlighted the challenges faced by oceans in Africa to include indiscriminate dumping, unregulated fishing, lack of adequate knowledge of the seas including inadequate hydrographic information also commended the Agency for drawing attention to the need to conserve and preserve the oceans.
The first professor of Geodesy in Africa particularly commended Dr. Peterside for his ingenious leadership in the Agency which he said will galvanize the maritime industry to greatness.
“I don’t know what you are doing in NIMASA but whatever you are doing is very commendable. Apart from the fact that you have assembled first grade scholars to talk today, this is the first time in my 78 years sojourn on earth that I have chaired an event and four hours after, the hall is still filled to capacity”, Professor Fubara said.
Earlier in his keynote address, the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to ensure the exploitation and exploration of resources in the marine environment in a sustainable manner.
The minister who was represented by the Director of Maritime Safety and Security in the Ministry, Mr. Danjuma Dauda said that it was the desire of the government to ensure cleaner oceans and to eliminate sea piracy and armed robbery within Nigeria’s maritime space.
According to the Minister “for many years Africans believed that their wealth and destiny lay in their arable lands alone. They therefore paid little attention to the exploration of the seas and oceans and accepted every decision made at the international level with little or no contribution. That narrative has to change”.
While welcoming guests to the event, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said that Oceans and Seas are essential to the sustainable development of Nigeria and indeed the African continent.
He highlighted a number of challenges that are making it difficult for Nigeria and indeed other African countries to actualise the potentials of maximising the benefits of ocean resources which include ocean governance.
Dr. Peterside therefore called for cooperation among all stakeholders saying that “we must realise that the conservation, preservation and sustainable use of the oceans is a shared responsibility which all of us as stakeholders must commit ourselves in order to bequeath a safer planet for the generations unborn”.
The DG noted that the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) document has exposed the fact that illegal activities in Africa’s Maritime domain in the past decades have accounted for huge loss of revenue in the continent.
He therefore urged all stakeholders to support NIMASA in its new drive to encourage cleaner oceans and rid the Nigeria maritime space and indeed the entire Gulf of Guinea of illegal activities as issues of maritime remain global.
The African Day of the Seas and Oceans was instituted by the African Union in 2015. It seeks to draw attention to the strategic importance of proper management of marine resources for the development of the African continent in a sustainable manner.