From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
To achieve a safe and secure maritime domain, the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has asked the Board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to speed up the completion of the Deep Blue Project being championed by the agency.
The maritime security project, also known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, aims to comprehensively tackle insecurity on Nigeria’s territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone, up to the Gulf of Guinea.
Amaechi, who spoke in Abuja while inaugurating the NIMASA and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) boards, stressed that the Deep Blue Project was critical to maritime security in Nigeria and the entire West and Central African regions, according to a statement by the ministry’s Director, Press & Public Relation, Eric Ojiekwe.
Disclosing that about 60 per cent of the project’s cost had been paid by the Federal Government, he charged members to “go and complete the Deep Blue Project,” adding that to a great extent, NIMASA’s success depended on completing the project.
He tasked both boards on harmonious working relationship with the management of their respective agencies to promote security and economic activities, as well as trade facilitation and seaport management, while reminding them that their duty was to make good policies, while the management executes.
Responding for his team, the NIMASA Board Chairman, Asita O. Asita, noted that the security of the maritime domain was of utmost importance to the country, and “if we must trade as a country, we need the waterways to be safe.”
Similarly, his counterpart at NPA, Akin Ricketts, identified the underutilisation of the eastern ports, congestion and inefficiency of the Lagos ports occasioned by inadequate evacuation corridors as major issues, assuring that the board would work with all relevant stakeholders to ameliorate the sufferings of port users.
The 10-member NIMASA Board includes Asita (Chairman), Dr. Bashir Jamoh (Director-General), Victor Ochei (Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services), Chudi Ofodile (Executive Director, Finance and Administration) and Shehu Ahmed (Executive Director, Operations), among others.
The NPA Board comprises Ricketts (Chairman), Hadiza Bala Usman (Managing Director), Muhhamed Koko (Executive Director, Finance and Admin), Prof. Idris Abdulkadir (Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services) and Onari Brown (Executive Director, Marine and Operations), among others.