Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Duoye Diri, says the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is key in efforts to wean Nigeria from its dependence on crude oil, stressing that the most enduring wealth of the country is in maritime.
Diri stated this on Monday in Lagos, when he paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of NIMASA.
He said the country’s future depended on the successful harnessing of the enormous resources in its marine environment.
Diri appealed to NIMASA to increase its presence in Bayelsa State, especially in the area of domain awareness, to ensure security in the state’s maritime environment and build confidence in investments in the state’s huge maritime potential.
The governor, who was received by the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, and the Executive Management team, said: “A lot of countries are moving away from fossil fuel and maritime gives Nigeria an alternative. All the eight local governments areas in our state can be accessed by water. In fact, the headquarters of three of these local governments areas can only be reached by water. This shows how important our state is to maritime development.
“We are, therefore, seeking partnership with NIMASA, which is the apex maritime regulatory agency of our country, to expand her regulatory activities to our state.”
Diri said, “NIMASA and Bayelsa are inextricably one,” and there was need for both to work together to strengthen the country’s maritime domain.
He appealed to NIMASA to help in the removal of wrecks that had impaired navigation in many parts of the coastal state.
The governor requested NIMASA’s support to the State government in its effort to develop the state’s maritime potential. He sought the agency’s partnership in the areas of training and youth development, establishment of a maritime academy in the state, and development of the Agge Deep Seaport in Ekeremor Local Government Area.
Responding, the NIMASA Director-General said Bayelsa State was one of the agency’s strongest allies in the pursuit of its mandate of sustainable regulation and promotion of the maritime sector. He said security was of utmost importance in the realisation of a prosperous maritime sector, adding that he would facilitate the incorporation of Bayelsa State in the ongoing effort to integrate the maritime domain awareness facilities of relevant stakeholders, including NIMASA’s C4i, Nigerian Navy’s Falcon Eye, Nigerian Ports Authority’s C3i, and the i247 of the Nigeria Police.
Jamoh said: “Bayelsa State holds the key to the growth of our economy because a huge part of our coastline falls within the state. Thankfully, the issue of wreck removal has been sorted out and we have concluded the marking and identification of all wrecks and derelicts across the country for removal.”
The DG further assured the governor of NIMASA’s support “in terms of maritime growth and we will look into expanding our office in Bayelsa in order to have more presence in the state.”