Leaders and major stakeholders in the maritime industry on Thursday gathered under the aegis of the Corporate Think-Tank to celebrate the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, on the occasion of his 59th birthday.
The surprise birthday celebration took place during the Corporate Think-Tank Lunch Hour Lecture Series organised by the Academy for Maximum Achievement at the Jade Palace Chinese Restaurant in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The unsuspecting NIMASA Director-General had been invited to the event to address business leaders and captains of industries on “Nigeria’s Unfolding Blue Economy”.
During his presentation, the NIMASA Director-General said the Blue Economy, which Nigeria is exploiting to diversify its economy, will create a flurry of activities in the maritime sector. He said the Blue Economy has the potential of replacing oil as Nigeria’s economic mainstay.
“Apart from the littoral states that lie on the Atlantic coast, other states, up to the central and northern parts of the country, will also benefit from the Blue Economy,” Dr. Jamoh said in his presentation.
He said in 2021, as part of actualising the Blue Economy, NIMASA rolled out the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project, to tackle insecurity in Nigeria’s waterways.
He said the Deep Blue Project, which was officially inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, June 10, 2021, is designed to enable the country to launch a full scale war against pirates and other maritime criminals in order to guaranty the safety and security of Nigeria’s maritime space, including its exclusive economic zones up to the Gulf of Guinea.
“Within one year of its operation, the Deep Blue Project has proved to be the answer to the incessant cases of piracy, armed robbery and other maritime crimes that hindered economic and social activities in the country’s maritime environment for a long time.
“There has been an appreciable reduction of such cases in the last one year, a development that has been applauded by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) which acknowledged a 30 per cent drop in piracy cases in 2021 alone, since the launch of the programme,” he said.
He said the Deep Blue Project has succeeded in eliminating piracy in the country and in the larger Gulf of Guinea.
Panelists including the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicky Haastrup; former Chairman, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), Dr Chris Asoluka; and former President, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Alhaji Aminu Umar, all took five minutes each to discuss the NIMASA DG’s presentation.
Immediately after the panel discussion, the birthday surprise began when a saxophonist sneaked into the hall with a special birthday number for Dr. Jamoh, who was obviously caught unawares.
A birthday cake was presented to the NIMASA DG and a compilation of all his tweets since assuming office in March 2020 was unveiled as part of the surprise birthday package put together by some of his friends including Princess Vicky Haastrup, Barr. (Mrs) Margaret Onyema-Orakwusi and his Special Assistant on Communications and Strategy, Mr. Ubong Essien.
The event was graced by several dignitaries including former Minister of Interior, Capt. Emmanuel Iheanacho; Group Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc, Mr. Oscar Onyema; former Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Ade Dosunmu; Publisher of Vanguard newspapers, Prince Sam Amuka Pemu; CEO of Brittania-U Nigeria Limited, Mrs Uju Ifejika; and leading singer/actress, Ms Onyeka Onwenu.
Other guests at the event include the President, Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. Mcgeorge Onyung; President, Alumni Association of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (AMANO), Mr. Emmanuel Maigunwa and an executive member of the Nigerian Shipowners Association, Capt. Taiwo Akinpelu, among many others.
Jamoh, who was made to speak for a second time after the surprise birthday treats, expressed appreciation to the organisers. He said he had never marked his birthday, and it was the first time in his 59 years on earth that his birthday was celebrated.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.