The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has given reasons why Nigeria hosted the Association of African Heads of Maritime Administrations (AAMA) in Abuja re3cently.
Peterside who is presently the Chairman of AAMA argued that for Nigeria to successfully diversify its economy there is need to advance the nationâ€™s maritime interest, being a sector capable of taking over from oil as the countryâ€™s leading revenue earner in the nearest future.
The NIMASA helmsman who made this assertion at the 5th Nigeria Transport Awards and Lecture in Lagos, said that the benefits of the oil and gas sector and other vibrant economic impacting sectors cannot be reaped without shipping, as the sector provides the wheel upon which trade thrives.
This was evident at the just concluded hosting of the AAMA by NIMASA in conjunction with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
â€œOur hosting of the AAMA Conference is to ensure we become a leading voice in Africaâ€™s maritime sector advancing Nigeriaâ€™s global maritime goals. We intend to coordinate the sector and make it devoid of piracy and other crimes at seaâ€, The DG said.
Peterside who was represented at the event by the agencyâ€™s Director of Administration and Human Resources, Mr. Akin Akinyosoye said that the maritime sector is of critical significance to the Nigerian economy, particularly, given that the nation is endowed with a vast coastline as well as navigable inland waterways adding that Nigeria is strategically placed on the Atlantic coast of West Africa.
His words: â€œShipping is essential to the proper operation of any country’s economy and a vital part of a nation’s transport infrastructure, it is no gain saying that a Nation such as ours blessed with about 853km coastline and 200 nautical miles exclusive economic zone apart from the abundance of mineral resources that are domiciled in every nook and cranny of our country needs to be harnessed through shipping to create a positive economic impactâ€.
He stated that the agency was working assiduously to ensure that the countryâ€™s maritime domain is safe and secure for shipping activities, hence the Agency is leading the charge in coordinating other African Nations to tap into maritime opportunities across the continent.
He urged stakeholders to participate actively in ensuring the nationâ€™s maritime sector remains virile adding that the agency is committed to ensuring a safer maritime domain.