AMJON Confab: Stakeholders Advocate Int’l Best Practice In Pursuit of Blue Economy
…As Marwa, Ahmed, Adalikwu, Babalola, Njoku, Others Bag Excellence Awards
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Maritime stakeholders have enjoined the federal government to take deliberate steps to ensure that global standards are maintained in all its actions associated with the development of the nation’s blue economy.
The stakeholders who spoke at a One-Day Seminar with the theme ‘Maximising the Blue Economy through Automation’ organized by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) Monday at the Sheraton Hotels Ikeja Lagos, averred that anything less will jeopardize the full realization of the nation’s blue economy.
In his presentation, the Managing Director of MNLG, Mr. Abdulkadir Ahmed said while Nigeria has acquired sufficient competence in port processes with high level operational seamlessness and less challenges, however noted that efforts must be made to meet and sustain international best practices in particular trade; especially in the blue economy.
“For Nigeria to realise it’s potentials, all effort must be pulled together to strengthen all agencies, institutions of government and the private sector and emulate the goings on in other worlds.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), said illicit trafficking in drugs in the international trade chain will cast a shadow on the potential gains of our emerging blue economy, noting that the business integrity must be maintained by all and sundry to give Nigeria the right international image, and more than that, to safe guard the well being of Nigerians against the adverse effects of drugs.
The NDLEA chairman who was represented by Dr. (Mrs) Omolade Faboyede, Director Seaports Operation, Lagos, noted that the fight against drug barons and cartels in Nigeria and the world over is formidable and lamented the involvement of the female gender in the unwholesome enterprise.
Faboyede urged well meaning Nigerians to join the fight against drug abuse, lamenting further that the menace has also surfaced in secondary schools, where students have started smoking and inhaling dangerous drugs to the detriment of their future.
On his part, the helmsman of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) , Mohammed Bello-Koko, who was represented by the General Manager, Corporate & Strategic Communication, Barr. Mrs. Yemisi Oyinlola, said the present administration has put in place a sustainable operational innovations and development templates for a profitable port system.
Bello-Koko said all ports in Nigeria are presently undergoing recalibration and reconstruction, together with the review of the ports concessions, aimed at sustaining growth and productivity.
In his contribution, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, represented by Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, Director Special Duties, said the Agency has created the entire enabling environment for the nation’s blue economy to thrive. This is even as Jamoh urged stakeholders to keep fine tuning the blue economy processes to engender seamless implementation.
In his goodwill message, the Managing Director of Webb Fontaine, Mr. Ope Babalola said his organization is unrelenting in its drive to to do more in port technology, security and prompt cargo evaluation and evacuation; in line with the implementation of the blue economy blueprint.
Also, the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu who was represented by the Director Marine Services, NIWA, Engr Joseph Ororo, said the agency is consistent in its mandate in its assignment to make Nigerian waterways transportation safe and enjoyable for passengers; while maintaining the channels through routine dredging support free passenger and cargo services.
He said NIWA’s activities over the years had created a leeway towards bringing products to the Onitsha Port through barges and wants Nigerians to know that emphasis on conveying products through the roads to cities connected to riverine areas will soon be a thing of the past.
The Secretary General of MOWCA, Dr. Paul Adalikwu who was represented by his media adviser, Mr Ismail Aniemu, said it will continue to partner with and support Nigeria in its leading role in the sub region.
AMJON President, Mr. Paul Ogbuokiri in his welcome address challenged operators and players of the nation’s maritime economy to recommit themselves to the sector’s success story in the advent of the failure of the oil and gas as the nation’s economic mainstay, hitherto.
“With Nigeria’s recent experience where over half of the mainstay of our economy, crude oil has been vanishing into thin air in the name of ‘oil theft’ and now the current dynamics in the global energy consumption pattern which is favouring cleaner energy as against our abundant hydrocarbon; we as a nation has just one option left to us; refocus our attention to other sources of revenue or die.
“Because we have chosen to live, our blue economy resources which have remained mere potentials over the years have been identified as the low hanging fruit which the country could easily pluck to create abundance for our rapidly growing population.
“The blue economy guarantees sustainable exploitation of all resources in the marine environment including but not limited to fisheries, hydrocarbons, aquatic life, maritime transport, tourism, ports and harbour development and maintenance, etc.
“Instead of Customs, NPA, NIMASA etc having different ICT platforms, the entire Nigeria maritime industry should, in line with modern trends, come under one ICT umbrella to enhance ease of doing business in the industry and make interaction among operators and those wishing to do business with the sector be able to do that seamlessly.”
The high point of the seminar was the presentation of awards to 14 deserving maritime personalities, including agencies. The awardees include ES/CEO Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hon Emmanuel Jime, in recognition of his pragmatic leadership and contributions to the maritime industry; NPA boss, Bello-Koko, for his transformational leadership and deepening of the maritime industry; Brig Gen Marwa (Rtd), in recognition of his unrelenting and exceptional feats in the fight against the menace of drug trafficking and abuse in Nigeria; Chief Henry Njoku Vice Chairman CRFFN Governing Board, for his professional and leadership qualities; Dr Abdulkadir Ahmed, NLNG Shipping Management Ltd boss, in recognition of his unparalleled seafaring services in Nigeria; NIWA boss, Dr. George Moghalu, for his sterling leadership quest to improve waterways transportation system; and the MOWCA SG, Dr Paul Adalikwu, in recognition of his pioneering drive to give all member states full impact in the regional maritime partnership framework.
Others include Mr Ismail Aniemu, Publisher, Journal Magazine and Journal Ng Online, for his contributions to the development and growth of upcoming media practitioners and exemplary leadership roles to the development of the maritime journalism; Mr. Roland Ekama, Publisher Daily Focus News Online Nigeria, for his breaking news and incisive reportage.