Institute Empowers Scientists

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By Oluchi Chibuzor

The Nigeria Institute for Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) in collaboration with Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) has embarked on a two-day research voyage that is aimed at training early-career scientists along the Gulf of Guinea.

The initiative was part of efforts to gather oceanographic data and train the six scientists chosen from Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in the field of Oceanographic research.

Speaking in Lagos, before the departure of RV Bayagbona vessel on the research expedition, the Chairman Vessel Operations, NIOMR, Dr. Adesina Adegbie, said the exercise validated the federal government’s efforts in procuring the vessel in 2014.
He said the motive was for NIOMR to collaborate with Nippon Foundation-POGO (NF-POGO), which is sponsoring some early scientists to come on board the vessel for shipboard training, while the institute makes her vessel available.

He added: “For us is a major breakthrough in line with our mandate as we have done this before with other institutions like UNESCO, FAO and this is just to see NIOMR’s contribution to oceanographic research and education in the Gulf of Guinea. Also, this will prove to the world that on this side of the Atlantic Ocean we have a sea-going vessel that is available for research and training.

“As a brand new vessel that the federal government bought, the vessel is one of the rare vessels in the West African sub region that combines Fisheries and Oceanography in resource identification, pollution monitoring, and understanding of the forces that operate in the waters. That was why the vessel was bought in 2014 to enable us to utilise the vessel to gather sufficient information in knowing the parameters in the ocean.

“NIOMR is collaborating extensively with relevant stakeholders to achieve this because we know the ocean is a vast place and is very expensive to run a vessel like this. We have done a lot in this sector, because we have several departments working in the ocean like physical and chemical oceanography, Marine geology-geophysics, fisheries resources management,” he stated.

Commenting on the project, the Project Leader and Assistant Director, Physical and Chemical Oceanography, Dr. Nubi Olubunmi, said the essence of the cruise was to gather oceanographic data within the Gulf of Guinea for sustainable resources management.

“In line with the United Nation Ocean decade for sustainable development we want to contribute our quota with our partnership with POGO and as the only oceanography institute in the country in order to fill necessary gaps within the sector. For example, the first hydrography of this region of the Gulf of Guinea was observed in 1962 but there is still lack of data despite several cruises over the years to quantify the bio-physical and biogeochemical processes taking place in the ocean. It is our responsibility within the framework of POGO mandate to act,” he explained.