President Buhari urges Africa to utilise maritime resources

Timothy Choji, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on leaders in Africa especially those overseeing affairs in the maritime sector to guide their countries in tapping the resources available in the sector.

He explained that the resources in the Maritime sector are key to the development of every country so endowed.

The President made the remark at the the opening of 3rd conference of the Association of African Maritime Administration in Abuja.

President Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said: “Clearly the enormous untapped potential for the making of strong self reliant, African economies lies embedded in the blue economy. It is the task of the seasoned leaders of the sector to guide us on this crucial voyage. The challenges are many but not insurmountable.”

He sued for more collaboration among African countries to utilise the available resources in the sector as well as address the problem of piracy, which is posing a great threat on the continent.

“As African maritime administrators and regulators, it is my respectful view that you must ensure a coherent and collaborative continental response to the challenges facing our maritime space.   This will require cooperation amongst our States and agencies and with other segments of society including the private sector. The good news is that we are on the right path. Our countries have to continue to develop the maritime sector starting from national level to sub-regional and regional levels,” he said.

Coming back home, President Buhari said the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA is being repositioned, for greater efficiency.

“NIMASA, which is the regulatory agency of shipping and maritime activities in Nigeria, is being reformed so that it can play its expected role as a facilitator of economic prosperity. 

Today, in the course of this opening ceremony, we are unveiling the new NIMASA brand which will serve as a signpost and symbol of our determination to reposition this vital agency.”

He said Nigeria will promote and support effective African participation in the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

On his part, Transport Minister, Rotimi Amechi said resolutions at the conference will help secure the future of the maritime sector in Africa.

Mr Amaechi said Nigeria is ready to enforce all international conventions on maritime as he suggested the strengthening of maritime administration on the continent, in order to grow the African economy.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of NIMASA, Mr Dakuku Peterside said Nigeria’s place in the maritime world is very strategic because through its waterways, it makes 60 percent contribution to the activities of the sector in Africa.

There were goodwill messages from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara and the representative of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, while Mr Soren Skou of Maersk Group Worldwide delivered the keynote address.

Highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the new logo of NIMASA, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.