The director- general, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has assured that reduction in piracy will guarantee Nigeria’s return to category C of the membership of International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
Bashir made the statement during a courtesy visit by the executive members of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State council, led by the chairman, Mr. Adeleye Ajayi to the NIMASA headquarters in Lagos.
According to the director-general, $783 million was lost to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. “We have recorded a drastic reduction in piracy and this is enough for us to beat our chest and say that we are ready to return to category ‘C’ of membership of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
“The year 2021 has witnessed a significant turnaround under my leadership as insecurity on Nigerian waters has reduced by 80 per cent,” he said. He maintained that the last time the country had a drop in piracy attacks in the nation’s waterways was in 1994, noting that Nigerian waterways were among the top 10 safest waters in the world.
He stated that this achievement was enough reason to sensitise and inform the international community that the Nigerian waterways were now safer than before, as Nigeria must take its rightful position among comity of nations globally.
“We want the cost of insurance premium paid by Nigerians as a result of insecurity to be reconsidered as insecurity in the country’s waterways has drastically reduced, “ Jamoh said. He lauded the agency for working toward the actualisation of the blue economy, adding that the target of the agency was to see that the blue economy was harnessed to the maximum.
“We have eight coastal states in the country and we want these states to develop their potential in order to contribute to the country’s revenue,” Jamoh added. In the area of professional reportage, the director-general appealed to journalists to be mindful of what information they release to the public.
“Our priority as a nation should be striving to project positive reports that will project Nigeria in a better light to the international community as done in advanced countries,” the NIMASA boss said.
Jamoh urged journalists, especially those covering the Maritime beat to always hear both sides of a story before going to town with information. “We cannot achieve much without the media, especially in the area of educating people.
“The role of the media in any society cannot be overemphasized as no agency or society can function effectively without the press because the media helps in shaping public opinion.
“Another election in the Global Maritime Industry (IMO) will be held in November 2021 and I urge the media to showcase achievements of Nigeria to the world before then in order to put Nigeria at the forefront globally. He lauded the efforts of other 19 African countries including Nigeria at tackling social vices in the Gulf of Guinea.
On his part, the NUJ chairman assured NIMASA of regular publicity as well as robust relationship between Lagos Council of NUJ and NIMASA, lauding NIMASA for giant strides it has achieved in the maritime sector which included safeguarding of Nigeria’s waterways, collaboration with sister agencies of government as well as donations worth millions of naira to the internally displaced persons’ (IDPs) camps and victims of disaster in the country.