By Yemisi Izuora
The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has advised restive youths in Niger Delta region to eschew social vices and seek peace so that security of social and economic investments would be guaranteed for economic advancement of the region and the country.
Peterside speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting between the management of NIMASA and stakeholders in Warri Delta State said that there was need to address insecurity in the Niger Delta region for business to flourish.
The DG said the management of the agency would not relent in its core functions of safety of vessels and personnel on Nigerian territorial waters.
According to him, Presently, over 2,000 Nigerians are undergoing training in seafaring.
We recorded few piracy attacks this year compared to last year as a result of Nigeria’s compliance with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code code due to the activities of NIMASA.
If the Nigerian waters were safe, that would encourage more vessels to come into the country.
We must acknowledge that NIMASA is working very hard to achieve its mandate.
Peterside said that NIMASA’s would be operating in Warri and Koko ports electronically to put a stop to human interface.
The NIMASA DG said that his management visited Delta State for three functions: checking the state of Warri and Koko ports; interacting with members of staff to know their challenges; and to also monitor the operations of stakeholders.
Peterside urged stakeholders to have a change of attitude in doing things, adding that NIMASA was concerned with the enforcement of Cabotage.
Speaking further, he noted: “If Cabotage act is properly implemented, it will override oil and gas or work side by side with oil and gas in terms of revenue generation.
“All the people using flagged vessels to trade in our waters should have rethink because the end has come as NIMASA has zero tolerance on any vessel flouting our laws.
“There is a new lease of life in NIMASA and maritime industry is full of opportunities. We invite those who may not know to come and join us.”
In his welcome address, the Coordinator, Central Zone of NIMASA, Captain Kunle Olayiwola said the Central Zone had 77 staff including the coordinator, two assistant directors and so on.
Olayiwola said: “There are five central zonal operations offices such as Ports office in Delta Port, Maritime safety office in Warri; Cabotage Enforcement office in Sapele; Escravos office in Oporoza town; and maritime Labour Service located in Delta.
“Being the first director- general to visit the zone, we have assurance that we have not forgotten and abandoned you and we have rekindled the hope of staff by giving the opportunity to interact with management.
“The zone needs attention to reposition it for higher productivity.”
Dickson Unogu, a stakeholder and a member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, urged the management of NIMASA to dredge the channel in Warri Port to allow bigger vessels to berth.
A staff of Shipping and Dredging Root Services, Obioma Ochulo, urged NIMASA to engage in electronic operations to reduce the burden of staff coming to Lagos for clearance.
Other stakeholders commended NIMASA’s effort and urged the agency to collaborate and synergise with the Niger Delta region to improve on their development.