Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday, asked the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to return its Cabotage Services Department to Port Harcourt.
He gave the charge when Director-General of the agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh visited him at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Wike said operations of the Cabotage Services Department of NIMASA used to be in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, but it was relocated to Lagos.
The Governor said in spite of his administration’s procurement of gunboats for security agencies, especially the police and navy to assist in the fight against piracy and ensure safety on the waterways for NIMASA’s businesses to thrive, the state did not get anything in return.
He commended Jamoh for the initiative aimed at harnessing ocean resources as an alternative revenue source that would end the country depends on oil and gas.
Speaking further, Wike pledged to partner with the agency in human capital development and assured that he would consider adopting the Government Sea School, Isaka as an institution for the training of seafarers.
He also expressed the willingness of the state government to partner with NIMASA on its deep blue project because of its potential to enhance and increase youth capacity in Rivers State, adding that the state government would set up a committee to liaise with NIMASA office in Port Harcourt on the project.
Wike further lamented the failure of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi to leverage his position to revive the Port Harcourt and Onne Ports to generate employment for Rivers youths in the maritime sector.
Speaking, Jamoh said the agency’s new thinking was in paying attention to divesting the country’s economy with its 10-year plan to develop ocean resources in the country.
Jamoh explained that his tour to the eight littoral states, which Rivers is a part, was intended to sell the new thinking to them and the need to key into the initiative.
He urged the Rivers State Government to set up a committee to work with the agency in identifying its areas of comparative advantage to harness its abundant marine resources.