Nigeria’s Economy Will Blossom with Sufficient Maritime Security-Transport Minister
.10 Students Win NIMASA Education Grants
By Udeme Clement
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said that the new maritime security infrastructure being built by the Federal Government, the Deep Sea Project, will be a major economic trigger for the country.
Amaechi stated this in Lagos, while speaking with the media during the World Maritime Day celebration, with the theme, ‘Empowering Women in the Maritime Community’ in an occasion where 10 women were honoured for their contributions in the maritime sector.
More so, 10 students, who excelled in an essay competition organised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, as part of the activities in commemoration of the Day were awarded by the Agency’s education grants at the occasion.
Amaechi said, “The Deep Sea Project aims at securing the country’s territorial waters up to the Gulf of Guinea, to inspire greater investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s maritime sector and to boost the sector’s contribution to national economy. With this security infrastructure, the revenue of agencies in the maritime sector will increase.
“Currently, the maritime sector is returning less than N100 billion, it should be doing more than that. It should be returning above N300 billion. In terms of the economy, the maritime industry is contributing quite a lot.”
He also spoke of government’s plan to link the railway system to seaports, as a way of integrating the maritime sector into the rail master structure, to make movement of goods more effective.
“All seaports in Nigeria must be connected by rail; that is a policy of government,” Amaechi said, adding, “We have put in place a 25-year modernisation programme for the rail system. With the master plan, we have taken rail from where the past government stopped into the seaports.
“For instance, the current Lagos-Kano rail line began from Ebute Metta. When we came, we started another line from Ebute Metta to Apapa seaport. With this, when you bring in your goods, you turn them to the rail that takes them to the hinterland. The one from Lagos to Calabar will link the Calabar, Port Harcourt, and Onne seaports, and so on.”
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who made a presentation on the measures by the Federal Government to tackle maritime security in the country, expressed the hope that the female gender will play a major role in the execution of the anchor security scheme, the Deep Blue Project.
“We have various components in the coordinated maritime security solution and the female gender is already part of the project,” he said.
Dakuku added, “Aside land, air and marine-based assets being acquired, we have intelligence gathering component where the women are already playing a major role. We recognise gender equality as one of the key platforms on which we can build a sustainable solution to security challenges in Nigeria maritime sector.”
The Deep Blue Project involves acquisition of assets, such as fast intervention vessels, surveillance aircraft, and other facilities, including a command and control centre for data collection and information sharing that will serve the goals of targeted enforcement. The project also include the training of personnel from security services to man the assets.
The objective is to build an integrated surveillance and security architecture that will comprehensively combat maritime crime and criminality in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, a student from University of Ibadan, Mr. Toluwalope Ojewola, emerged overall winner of the essay competition organised by NIMASA to mark the World Maritime Day.