By Silas Onuoha
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh has reaffirm the Agency’s commitment to human capacity growth as the basic catalyst to develop the maritime sector in Nigeria.
Dr. Bashir stated this today in Benin City when he led a team from the Agency on a courtesy visit to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State in the government house.
While receiving the Director General and his team, the Edo State Governor said the Benin River Port project is critical and strategic to Nigeria’s economy, noting that the State Government is willing to partner with NIMASA to make the project a reality.
The Governor said, Edo State is very unique in its ecology. Going further he said , “Edo state is a nexus for Nigeria hence the strategic role the Benin River port would play in the transportation of goods to other parts of the country. You can connect the east and west from Edo within two hours so that means in six hours goods from Apapa Lagos will be everywhere in the country.”
“We are locating this port in a place that is perhaps Nigeria’s largest and richest onshore gas reserve. You can imagine that this energy exists to drive whatever amount of industrialization that needs to be.”
Governor Obaseki commended NIMASA Management for the blue economy initiative, says the economy of Nigeria must be diversified.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Bashir acknowledged that the Benin River Port project is a testament that Edo understands the benefits of shipping and expressed readiness to ensure the state explores the opportunities of the blue economy.
Also Dr. Jamoh noted that the Agency was ready to sponsor indigenes of the State who are below 25 years of age to Greece on fully-funded scholarship to study Maritime related courses. He stressed the fact that human and infrastructural capacity growth is key to the development of the maritime industry in Nigeria. He noted that the Agency’s drive to develop the blue economy in partnership with littoral states in the country is aimed at achieving a diversified economy for the country.
“Shipping is the alternative to oil and the shipping sector in Nigeria can produce three quarter of the nation’s earnings from the oil sector.
To achieve this, we at NIMASA are engaging the littoral states in Nigeria to develop strategies that would lead to maximizing the potentials of the sector within the next ten years when countries are targeting to end the use of fossil fuel”.
NIMASA’s boss, Dr. Bashir commended the Edo State Government on the Benin River Port project, which he said, would be a revenue booster for the state as he identified Kano, Plateau and Gombe states as states that have invested hugely in Inland Dry Port development, despite not being littoral states.