The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside has called for the implementation of a National Maritime Policy in Nigeria to serve as a catalyst for the actualisation of the objectives of the Africaâ€™s Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050.
Peterside stated this while declaring open the meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Implementation of AIMS 2050, held in Lagos.
He noted that a maritime policy for Nigeria will provide a platform to implement the framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of Africaâ€™s Maritime Domain (AMD).
Speaking further, Peterside who was represented at the meeting by the Agencyâ€™s Executive Director, Operations, Rotimi Fashakin, urged the committee to take cognizance of the current maritime security architecture in Nigeria that has been structured in line with international best standards and practices.
He also stated that in order to realize the dream of a blue economy, strategies must be put in place, and that security and capacity building amongst other initiatives are key areas to unlocking the opportunities that abound in the blue economy.
In his words, â€œWhen you talk about the security issues, you talk about the actual and the perceived; and in the real sense of business, perception matters a lot. The Gulf of Guinea (GoG) is being perceived as not being quite safe because of few attempts we have in the GoG, but I can assure you that the Nigerian Navy and NIMASA are working hand in hand to secure the Gulf of Guinea.â€
The NIMASA boss also used the opportunity to applaud the Committee for involving Ship owners in the AIMS 2050 implementation process, noting that the blue economy cannot be realized without them as they are the major assets owners.
He also gave the assurance that the interest and concerns of the ship owners will also be addressed.
Earlier in her remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Amina Yusuf disclosed that the AIM Strategy was developed as a response to the high volume of illegal activities that have been in occurrence in Africaâ€™s Maritime Domain (AMD), amounting to huge losses in revenue and lives amongst other issues militating against the development of the AMD.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Implementation of the AIMS 2050 came about as the outcome of the meeting of the African Union on AIMS 2050 which took place in Addis Ababa on 24th â€“ 25th July, 2015.
Among the resolutions arrived at during the course of the meeting was the position that Nigeria should constitute an Inter-Ministerial Committee to enhance its efforts at fulfilling its obligation towards the adoption and implementation of the Strategy.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee constitutes of eleven members, drawn from NIMASA, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippersâ€™ Council (NSC) and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) amongst others, all with the sole aim of articulating positions towards the enhancement of AIMS 2050 and ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, EIMS activities for a robust maritime domain in Nigeria and by extension Africa.