Nigeria needs blue economy to create jobs, wealth- Says NIMASA DG
.Tasks maritime Journalists on blue economy advocacy
By Udeme Clement
The Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ,NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has declared that ocean resources if adequately harnessed can create jobs, wealth to build capacity for economic growth and development.
Dakuku made this known while addressing maritime Journalists, at a media parley with the theme, ‘The role of maritime Journalists in promoting blue economy’, stressed that the media has a responsibility to enlighten the people on the resources available in blue economy and the economic benefits for a nation in tapping these resources.
He said, “We must realise that the media is established to serve the people. Therefore, Journalists should play their role well in creating awareness on the economic benefits of blue economy for Nigeria and the sub-region at large”.
According to him, “Blue economy is evolving and Nigeria should key into the concept for optimum growth and sustainability. About 70 percent of earth resources are underneath the sea and most times untapped, but in reality, ocean resources are more than oil. That is why most advanced countries began their development from the sea, which shows the importance of ocean resources to national development.”
The NIMASA DG emphasized, “How come we are not harnessing these resources? The reasons include three major factors like lack of knowledge, lack of policy framework and lack of investment in this area. For instance, the business is dominated by China, U.S. and other Asian countries. Also, our government has not put policies in place to make people key into this concept fully. We have not invested in ocean resources by mapping out where these resources are abound. For instance, we do not have investment in deep sea fishing and we even lack necessary infrastructure in place for this”.
He went on, “Other challenges include maritime insecurity, criminal activities at sea as well as climate vulnerability, which are some of the factors hindering the development of blue economy in Nigeria and Africa.”
The guest speaker, Chairman, Editorial Board of the Nation Newspaper, Mr. Sam Omatseye, said that blue economy is about developing ocean resources for sustainable growth.
His explanation, “Blue economy has over $24trillion of wealth opened for humanity to tap into in the world. Environmental and economic sustainability are also parts of the concept in blue economy. The merits of blue economy are enormous because ship building, fishing and aquaculture are also embedded in the same concept.
“Therefore, maritime Journalists must constantly educate themselves about activities in the industry. They should know the appropriate language to use in communicating these ideas. In doing so, simplicity in the use of language is imperative for the public to understand. For example, the word ‘Seafarer’ can be simplified to be sailor, for a common man to understand the meaning. They should understand the laws, especially in international contest.”
Also speaking, the former Editor, Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Joel Dafinone, said, “The media should continue to write, advocate and set agenda believing that one day, we shall get there. Journalists in the maritime industry should also write about new windows of investments in export sector that can stimulate economic growth now and in the long-run”.
In his words, the Managing Director, Thisday Newspaper, Mr. Eniola Bello said, ‘Unless the media succeeds in business to stay afloat, nothing much can be achieved by its advocacy. In advanced countries, once the media reports an issue in the society, government will act fast to correct the situation, but in Nigeria, nothing will be done. For instance, Apapa road leading to the sea ports in the country, which is in a very bad shape is a typical example of this. Many people including Journalists lost their lives on Apapa road as a result of this.”
In the same vein, the Head, Corporate Communications, NIMASA, Mr. Isichei Osamgbi, advised maritime reporters to focus their write-ups on educating the public and investors on enormous potentials abound in the maritime sector and the need to explore blue economy.