NIMASA, Navy to Set up Standing Committee for Blue Economy

NIMASA, Navy to Set up Standing Committee for Blue Economy
Joyce Mmereole Okoli 
In an effort to utilize the blue economy the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy are putting heads together to set up a committee to ensure security on our water ways and the Gulf of Guinea.

Dr Bashir Jamoh says collaboration with the Nigerian Navy has played a key role in the achievements of his Administration in terms of maritime security in Nigerian waters and the Gulf of Guinea. 

The NIMASA DG stated this on Tuesday when he received the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hasssan and a delegation of senior Naval officers in Lagos, Nigeria.

Jamoh noted that the Nigerian model is now being adopted in other countries, adding that the change in narratives about security in Nigerian waters from the era of over 26 Piracy incidents and negative media exposure, to no single piracy incident in Nigerian waters for almost two years now, is a direct product of effective collaboration of the Maritime Administration with the Nigerian Navy, a relationship he hopes to deepen.

In his words "Collaboration with the Nigerian Navy is largely responsible for the confidence of stakeholders in the current Management of the Agency. I was in Brazil last week, the South Americans and even  our neighbors like Ghana are eager to learn how we arrived at this MARAD-NAVY collaboration yielding successes. 

“Just imagine that the negative media exposure in  2019-2020 about prevalent piracy and criminal activities in Nigerian waters had continued, you can only imagine where Nigeria would have been by now. I am glad we sought and got collaboration with the Navy,” he said.

The NIMASA Helmsman noted that the agency is eager to ensure policy for Nigerians to enjoy benefits accruable from the Blue Economy. 

“The time has come for us to implement our Crude to Blue campaign since 2021. Maritime stakeholders in Nigeria should be ready  to repay President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for creating the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry. 

“If we must make headway in Tourism and fishing, security is priority. We will make a case for the designation of Marine Protected Areas particularly for fishing and the Nigerian Navy definitely will play a major role,”.

The constitution of an eight-man committee, comprising four each from the Navy and NIMASA was also announced to serve as catalyst for Shift from Crude to Blue, now that Nigeria has a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

The FOC West, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, noted the need to sustain information sharing between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy. He commended NIMASA Management for the non-kinetic support to the Western Naval Command. 

He also requested NIMASA to support 'Operation Water Guard' to combat smuggling around the Badagry channel. The FOC West, who had the Commander Deep Blue Commodore  OA Akinbami on his entourage, noted that the Deep Blue assets are fully functional and requested for further deepening of information sharing between the Western Naval Command and the NIMASA C4i center.

He also urged NIMASA to bring to the notice of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, the need for Nigeria to take possession of a border island in Badagry, the  oil rich Tongeji Island between Nigeria and Benin Republic for maritime tourism in particular. Dr Jamoh described the oil rich island as a low hanging fruit for the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, with an assurance that the Agency will relate with the supervising Ministry for further actions, particularly as regards maritime tourism.

The closest village to the Tongeji Island in Nigeria is Badagry and it is about 55 minutes by water, while just 5 minutes from Porto Novo. The residents speak French and English and they do their daily shopping from Porto Novo.

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