Master mariner wants Nigeria made regional maritime trade hub

LAGOS – Capt. Ade Olopenia, President, Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM), on Friday canvassed the need for Nigeria to become the maritime trade hub for West and Central African sub-region.
Olopoenia said while fielding questions with journalists in Lagos that more than 70 per cent of the ships destined for the regions berth at various ports in Nigeria.
“Because of the conducive nature of our ports many vessels arrive in the country.
“Also our transport corridor is very good so we have what it takes,’’ he said.
The master mariner commended the concessionaire for their investment efforts in the development of the nation’s ports to meet international standard.
He also solicited the need for maritime professionals in government agencies to develop and contribute to the development of the economy.
“We appeal to the government to appoint maritime professionals in its various agencies so that those who have the knowledge in maritime issues can contribute to the economy,’’ Olopoenia said.
He said such that such government agencies are the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigeria Inland Waterways and the Nigerians Ports Authority so as to have succession plans.
“It is bad that in a government agency that is not handled by a professional, a person will be appointed and he starts his own process and as soon as he leaves another person comes and starts a new thing.
“This slows growth. Until we have professionals in these agencies, including Maritime Academy, Oron, we will not achieve the desired target for the country,’’ Olopoenia said.
He advocated for partnership with various maritime agencies and stakeholders so as to find solution to the challenges in the maritime sector.
Also speaking, Capt Adewale Ishola, a former President of the association, also advised government to appoint professionals in the Ministry of Transport so as to make impact in the nation’s maritime industry.
Ishola said that the maritime professionals were capable of tackling issues brought by the ministry.
He urged the members of NAMM to collaborate and always speak with one voice so as to achieve their objectives of developing the maritime sector. (NAN)

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