By Innocent Orok
In continuation of his tour of his Ministry’s facilities in Lagos, the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy,
Adegboyega Oyetola, has said that tourism, maritime security and waterways transportation will be a top priority aspects of his administration.
The minister said this on Tuesday during his tour of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) facilities in Lagos State.
He said “Nigeria has about 853km coastline which is in abundance. The first thing is to ensure the security of our waterways so that people will use the waterways for transportation.
“We need to invite investors. In Kenya there is a particular beach that contain 10,000 villas, one can imagine the kind of revenue they get. I want us to be able to ensure investors in this sector, but investors want to be guaranteed security. So the first thing is to ensure that security of our waterways is guaranteed”.
Oyetola, however, observed that Nigerians are really looking forward to the ministry to harness the potentials that have been there all along, but in a coordinated manner. He commended NIMASA for it’s efforts in securing the Nigerian maritime domain and the reduction of piracy.
“NIMASA has done very well. I have seen the C4i center and other maritime assets. They have reduced the level of piracy to zero and we should be able to sustain that.
“I have been to the NIMASA facilities, enforcement areas, the head office, the training school, some officers manning the security of our waterways. I am impressed with what I have seen so far and I think we are really ready for the Marine and Blue Economy in the real sense of it,” the Minister added.
The Minister said the time has come for Nigeria to fully harness its vast potential in the maritime sector, noting that the working visit was to ascertain and properly appraise the situation of things with a view to taking practical steps and measures towards addressing them.
In his words, “Today, we have come to see some of the things you told us in Abuja and to properly appraise the situation of things with a view to taking practical steps towards addressing them.
“I am particularly interested in the NIMASA Modular Floating Dock because of its potential to generate employment and stem capital flight.
” But we must find a way of ensuring stakeholders’ buy-in, in whatever we do so that we are seen to be working together for the growth and development of Nigeria”.
Speaking further, the Minister noted that it was time for Nigeria to float a National Carrier, stressing that through a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement, and the support of stakeholders, such a plan would be achieved in the interest of the maritime industry and Nigeria as a whole.
The Minister averred that management of the resources of Nigeria’s Marine and Blue Economy entailed proactive, smart and strategic thinking.
He called for the rediscovery, harnessing and packaging of the nation’s maritime resources, including seafood, in line with all associated international standards and specifications.
The Minister was guided during the tour by the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh OFR, who also applauded the appointment of OYETOLA as Minister of Marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a unique one.
During the visit, the Minister inspected the NIMASA Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence, C4i centre, NIMASA e-library, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio room, Marine Environment Management Laboratory, the newly acquired NIMASA headquarters, Search and Rescue Base Clinic and the NIMASA Skills Acquisition Centre, all in Lagos State .