Some stakeholders in Nigeria’s maritime sector have adopted the Nigerian Maritime Handbook published by Nigerian Maritime Publications, which they described as key to attracting foreign investments into the country.
The adoption was done during the presentation of the handbook draft copy to maritime stakeholders in Lagos.
Major stakeholders present at the presentation were the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Chambers of Shipping amongst others.
Speaking at the event, Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council (NPCC), Mr. Kunle Folarin, said the document, a veritable legacy to the ports and maritime industry showed that this generation was not a wasted one.
According to him, about three decades ago, the vastness and strategic importance of the maritime resources of Nigeria inspired the publisher to put together this document.
“The handbook is highly recommended to all professionals, academia, government institutions and agencies as a good reference for policy formulation and direction,”Folarin said.
Also speaking, President, Merchant Seafarers Association of Nigeria (MSAN), Capt. Abel Ogah said the book’s objective is to create and sustain an encyclopaedia of the Nigerian maritime industry.
He added that the encyclopedia was laced with relevant and up-to-date data and information on maritime activities locally and internationally.
“The Nigerian Maritime Handbook is a compendium of the maritime industry conceived in the year 1994 and has 15 sections. This is a legal document that will push out activities of the Nigerian maritime industry so that investors will be in the known of what happens there, ”he said.
Ogah, said the prayers of the publisher of the document are for comprehensive support and financial contributions from all stakeholders for final production.
He also added that office space to establish a Secretariat and work production centre, material and data contributions from all agencies and stakeholders for continuous updating of the handbook was required.
He said all hands must be on deck for collective responsibility and management of the maritime handbook and a need to elect a more encompassing management team drawn from maritime agencies, companies and organisations.
Ogah listed the future plans to include: amendment, reproducing more copies, public launching, distribution to supporting agencies and assignment of special roles to responsible individual to take charge.
He said as at today with this presentation, the maritime handbook had become the responsibility of the maritime stakeholders for them to sustain, nurture, harvest and manage.
“The book will serve as a maritime reference material in Nigeria and beyond the shores of Nigeria,” he said.
On his part, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said the handbook would help remedy the issue of availability of data in the industry.
Represented by Acting Registrar of Ships, NIMASA, Mrs Nneka Obianyor, he said the handbook was what investors needed to know about the potential of the industry.
The Managing Director, NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, said the NPA was trying as much as possible to close gaps in the industry by having a database of ports activities and the book would ensure that.
Bala-Usman, who was represented by NPA General Manager, Corporate& Strategic Communications, Mr. Adams Jatto, urged stakeholders to key into the project.
Also, the Director-General, Nigerian Chambers of Shipping (NCS), Mrs Obiageli Obi, said collaboration, synergy and cooperation between maritime stakeholders was key for the handbook to take off.
Publisher of the book, Funmilayo Folorunsho, said lack of authentic maritime information and accessing the information prompted her to engage in the writing the handbook. Folorunsho, who is also the Secretary General, African Ship-owners Association, urged all maritime stakeholders to be part of the handbook before it gets to international organisations.
She mentioned two challenges during the packaging of the handbook such as lack of access to information and funds to enable her get to various organisations needs to be captured.