President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi and the Director General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) yesterday highlighted the challenges faced by the maritime sector in Africa even as they praised the hosting of the 3rd Association of Heads of Africa’s Maritime Association (AAMA) conference by Nigeria.
The meeting also saw the unveiling of the new NIMASA Logo.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki who was represented by Senator Bala Ibn’Nallah said African maritime has suffered all kinds of abuses and even made dumping ground while its maritime resources have been exploited by foreign countries at the expense of the real owners.
He said that the senate is in full support of the conference and every effort made to reposition the sector.
According to him, there is need for convergence of all African nations to curtail the huge losses recorded by the continent in maritime.
Speaker house of representatives, Yakubu Dogara highlighted the need to tighten regulation and to ensure the loss of over 20billion Euros by African nations because of poor regulation which has been the bane of Africa fishing trade.
He noted that Africa as a nation could create a lot of jobs through maritime if properly harnessed.
He said that “the recent passage of the Nigeria Transport Commission bill by the legislature will have positive impact on maritime especially in the area of regulation.”
“When implemented, the bill will also arrest piracy and other related vices that has been plaguing the maritime sector and strengthen our desire to make sea trade safe,” he said.
Empasising the need for Africans to take charge of their affairs, Dogara advised against the days of paying lip service on involving indigenous ship-owners in ocean trade while leaving foreigners to hijack the trade, adding, “It is not good for one to make the bed for another to lie down.”
On his own, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi stated that Nigeria, through the hosting of the event wishes to reinstate its commitment to continually contribute to the growth of the maritime sector on the continent of Africa and globally.
“The conference is not merely to praise the maritime sector of Africa but to tackle the maritime problems being encountered in the continent. It is regrettable that despite Africa’s enormous maritime endowment, we remain susceptible to raft of challenges.
“These include insignificant share of cargo, low tonnage, piracy, sea robbery, undeclared and unregulated fishing, and environmental degradation; worse still there is no African flagged vessels taking cargoes and our waterways still wallow in servitude.
“The African human capacity is greatly underdeveloped, leaving us to rely on foreigners to drive our industry. There is also near total absence of trained coast-guard to monitor our maritime domain,” he declared.
Director General of the NIMASA, Dakuku Peterside, while welcoming participants explained that, “hosting AAMA two years after African leaders through the African Union subscribed to 7 keys aspiration encapsulated in the agenda 2063 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2015 and three years after the adoption of Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050 concedes on Nigeria a special status.
“Only recently, to further reinforce the critical role maritime can play in the development of Africa, the African Union (AU) special summit of Heads of Government on maritime security, safety and development in Lome, Togo, 15th October 2016 aligned with us.
“They adopted a Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development aimed at making Africa’s maritime space the key driver of the continents socio-economic development. This document was endorsed by 43 out of 54 African nations.”
The AAMA inspired by African Union maritime transport charter provides us, as stakeholders in the maritime sector, a platform to give effect to the various charters adopted by our heads of government whether AIMS 2050, Agenda 2063 or Lome charter,” he affirmed.
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