By Lucy Ogalue/Doris Esa
Abuja – Dr Dakuku Peterside, Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), says safe and secured waterways will boost maritime transportation in Nigeria and in the continent.
Peterside made this assertion at the ongoing Global Maritime Security Conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
”Without safety and security of our water ways you cannot talk about maritime transportation. Sea borne transportation flourishes where the waterways are safe and secure.
” And so a key component of addressing, or maximising or optimising if you choose, the opportunities inherent in maritime transportation is addressing the issue of security and safety and that is one of the reasons for this conference.
”How best we manage our waterways to ensure it is safe and secured for economic activities to flourish. Peterside said that crime occurred from time to time, but becomes of concern when it was no longer tolerable.
He said member states in the region had agreed to deal with the issue of insecurity of waterways from its roots and had developed initiatives to ensure this.According to the NIMASA boss, no waterways in the World is security proof.
”At the continental level, we have the African integrated maritime security strategy and the Lome Charter that was done in 2016.”At the regional level we have the ECOWAS maritime strategy, regional coordination centre and several other initiatives.
”At the National level we have different initiatives to tackle maritime insecurity.“All of the strategy speaks to the fact that we are being proactive and that we will not accept any form of threat to our maritime domain, particularly the use of our water ways for shipping and for economic activities,” Peterside said.
The NIMASA boss said there have been improvement through these strategies as recent records had shown drop in maritime crime and piracy in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.He reiterated the need for more partnership and collaboration between relevant stakeholders to tackle the maritime insecurity menace in the region.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference is being attended by delegates from more than 80 countries.
Over 40 global maritime experts would also be making presentations in the course of the three-day conference, which have 11 thematic sessions.