The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has pledged the Federal Government’s implementation of the African Union (AU) strategy on ocean governance and maintaining a clean maritime environment in Africa. He also said Nigeria will participate effectively in shaping the international ocean governance in the United Nations.
Amaechi made this disclosure during the celebration of the African Day of the Seas and Oceans held in Lagos, yesterday.
Represented by the Director, Maritime Safety and Security of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mohammed Dauda, Amaechi said the ministry is embarking on bilateral and other multilateral engagements with Nigeria’s coaster neighbouring countries to achieve an improved and sustainable ocean framework.
He said that the code of conduct signed by heads of government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea would help the fight against piracy, sea robbery and other maritime crimes.
He said, “We are aligning ourselves fully with the African Union strategy on blue economy and maritime governance as a tool for sustainable development.”
Amaechi said a lot of efforts were being made to tackle piracy, robbery and illegal fishing within the maritime domain through the establishment of the Maritime Guard Command made up of military personnel drawn from the Army, Navy and Airforce, and based at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) head office in Lagos.
He said, ”The anti-piracy law is presently before the National Assembly and when passed into law, will ensure adequate sanctions against offenders and act as a deterrent to others.”
“As we celebrate, let us always remember that the seas provide the fishes we eat, the oil and gas that sustain our economy, means of transport for over 95% of our international trade and it contributes immensely to the power generation, agricultural irrigation and the moderation of our climate and weather.
“The seas and oceans are gifts of nature and should be treated with care and respect, to develop a sustainable ocean economy that would be passed from generation to generation in Nigeria,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, urged stakeholders to key into the 2050 Aim Strategy and Agenda of 2063 of the African Union in ensuring that seas and oceans are clean and safe and that the maritime domain is secured through effective surveillance and monitoring.
“Oceans and seas are central to the concept of Blue Economy in Africa and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations has identified the blue economy as suitable in meeting sustainable development goals.
“When it comes to Africa’s sustainable development, the seas and oceans are usually overlooked. It is however important that we realise that many people depend on the seas and oceans activities for their daily survival and discussions on sustainable development cannot be complete without tackling the issues of oceans governance and security,” Peterside said.
In her goodwill message at the event, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed commended NIMASA for vowing to move against International oil companies (IOCs) that violate the nation’s Cabotage Act and environmental laws.
The Minister’s representative, Mrs Adetutu Odulami called for partnership between the Ministry of Environment and NIMASA in order to jointly tackle marine pollution in the country.
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