(FILES) In this file photograph taken on March 20, 2019, a Nigerian special guard climbs a ladder as he boards a vessel during a joint exercise between Nigerian and Moroccan naval personell as part of Obangame Express, a multinational maritime exercise involving 33 countries off the coast of Lagos. - Piracy in the waters off West Africa threatens plans to bolster regional trade, Ghana's defence minister warned July 24, 2019, as navy chiefs discussed efforts to secure the troubled waters. The Gulf of Guinea is the most dangerous stretch of sea for pirate attacks in the world, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

 

Abiodun OBA        |        

 

The Director-General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),  Dr Bashir Jamoh said, insecurity was the major reason why ships avoid other ports in the country.

Jamoh stated this when he and his management team visited Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State at Government House, on Thursday in Asaba.

The DG, however, affirmed that NIMASA was already addressing the issue through the “Deep Blue Project”.

Jamoh said he was in Delta as part of the stakeholders’ sensitisation on development of the maritime sector.

He said that NIMASA was determined to bring the littoral states as major stakeholders in the maritime industry, together for partnership.

According to him, Delta had benefited from three projects of the Agency in the last seven years.

Such as Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko; NIMASA Science and Technical College, Okoloba; proposed Ship Repairs Industry and educational scholarship to over 1,000 Deltans to study maritime-related studies.

Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, in his comment, assured NIMASA DG, that the State Government would partner Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to develop the state’s maritime potential.

Nigeria’s oil and gas industry he said, lost huge investments due to the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

Okowa commended the management of the agency for reaching out to stakeholders in the littoral states in its determination to develop the maritime sector.

The governor affirmed  that the take-off of the Maritime University in Okerenkoko has brought peace to the Niger Delta and pledged the support of the state government to the growth and development of the university.

He acknowledged that NIMASA has done well in Delta, but needed to do more to enable the state to reap the dividends in the maritime sector.

According to him, “I appreciate the effort of NIMASA in the establishment of the Maritime University in Okerenkoko. The school should be developed to international standards because of its uniqueness and for it to produce adequate manpower needed in the maritime sector.

“Indeed, the coming of the university gave birth to peace in the Niger Delta and we must appreciate NIMASA for its contribution.

“I am glad that a lot is being done by NIMASA particularly in Delta State and we will continue to appreciate it so that you will continue to do more.

“I am aware that we have been having issues with the ship repairs and building project and we will be happy to see this industry established to complement the university.

“We are aware that a lot of scholarships have been given to Deltans and I must register our appreciation to NIMASA,” Okowa said.

He called for the opening up of the nation’s ports because of their importance in economic development and job creation, saying “a well developed maritime business has the tendency to address major challenges in the nation’s economy.

“Attention has for long been given to crude oil exploration and exploitation thus neglecting gas which has both long and short term gains to any nation that has it as a natural resource.

“Maritime industry is obviously very important to us as a nation and we can generate a lot of revenue from it, and it is my prayer that you will be able to get the much-needed support to develop the industry,” he added.

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