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Time to key in blue economy to Buhari’s ERGP—Gbajabiamila

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Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, in Lagos Thursday averred that this is the right time to factor in Nigeria’s rich maritime resources as a vital economic safeguard and vehicle for the successful implementation of the President Muhammadu Buhari government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

Presenting his position at a ceremony hosted by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to mark this year’s African Day of Seas and Oceans, the lawmaker stressed the need for maritime stakeholders to double their efforts to the success of the emerging Blue Economy.

Explaining more on the theme; ‘Enhancing Africa’s Role in a Globally Binding Instrument on Marine Biological Diversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction’, the Speaker pledged that the legislature would support efforts by the executive to ensure sustainable management of the country’s vast marine resources.

Gbajabiamila, represented by Hon. Linda Ikpeazu, added that “Efficient management and sustainable exploitation of the marine resources in our seas and oceans, no doubt, provide a veritable tool for our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan as a country and give expression to our sustainable development goals.”

“We will support the sustainable governance of Nigeria’s seas and oceans and the efforts of the executive arm of government that would see the effective domestication of relevant international conventions of the International Maritime Organisation on marine environment management through legislative enactments.

“The National Assembly would also work with the executive arm in putting in place the necessary legal framework for the Blue Economy to engender and protect the Nigerian marine environment and development of the ocean economy.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, disclosed that the Agency had sent to the Federal Government for ratification six International Maritime Organisation (IMO) instruments as part of efforts to ensure sustainable management of the marine environment.

The former House member, reiterated NIMASA’s critical focus on the development and protection of the marine environment, saying, “Our efforts in this area have been recognised by the International Maritime Organisation.”

Continuing, he listed the marine environment management instruments forwarded to the government for ratification to include: the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009; International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel; the Protocol Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties Intervention), 1973; and Protocol on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC), 1996.

Giving a clearer view of government’s direction on ERGP, the Chairperson of the event and Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Common Services, Dr. Bakare Wadinga, said maritime security and development were a top priority of the Federal Government in the execution of the ERGP.

Also speaking, the Chief Host, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari, said with Nigeria’s over 850 kilometres coastline, the country was blessed abundant resources to back its economic diversification and development drive. Zakari, who was represented by Director, Maritime Safety and Security in the ministry, Dr. Danjuma Dauda, also restated the government’s commitment to the development of the maritime sector.

The event featured paper presentations by President, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), Ghana, Jemilat Mahamah; Secretary-General of Abuja Memorandum of Understanding (Abuja MoU), Mrs. Mfon Usoro; environmental consultant, Professor Babajide Alo; and President, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril.

Dignitaries at the event included the Director-General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Idris Musa; Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Commodore Duja Effedua; and Chairman, Shipowners Forum, Mrs. Margaret Orakwusi. There were also members of the Governing Board of NIMASA led by the Chairman, General Jonathan India Garba.

Business Hilights recalls that the AU had set a 10-year period from 2015 to 2025 as the Decade of African Seas and Oceans, and July 25 as the African Day of seas and oceans.

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