The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi on Thursday said that the agency will dictate the pace of seafaring in Africa in the nearest future.
Akpobolokemi, who said the agency aims to achieve this feat through capacity building, revealed that that the agency has made conscious effort in training a lot of Nigerians all over the globe, so that in the future we can boast of human capacity in terms of seafaring in the industry.
He further noted that the federal government did not give that kind of attention to the agency 35 years ago when the national shipping line was liquidated insisting that ‚Äúwith this trend, in the few years to come, we are going to dictate the pace, in terms of sea faring, in Africa‚Äù.
Despite not having a Maritime Development Institute in place to facilitate the transition, Akpobolokemi maintained that agency will achieve this through capacity building.
He said with ‚Äú853 square Kilometres water ways, over 200 Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and within the context of maritime natural blessings, we have the oil, gas, the aquatic lifestyle‚Äù Nigeria has been able to attract the world.
He also added that the world trades with Nigeria, through the maritime channels, because of the ‚Äúabundant natural opportunites‚Äù hence the country‚Äôs high ranking in the International Maritime Organisation.
He stressed the agency‚Äôs drive to ensure that piracy is totally eradicated from the nation‚Äôs waterways to provide a safe and secure environment for local international maritime trade.
He noted that back in the days, there was no awareness that sea robberies take place adding that ‚Äúvirtually any case of hijack is reported now because of the mechanism that we have put in place‚Äù insisting that ‚Äúthere are so many instances when we go after the pirates or sea robbers, got them down in collaboration with other security agencies‚Äù.
He said some of the pirates the agency, in collaboration of other security agencies, arrested found their way back and went for a further hijack. It was this second hijack that claimed the lives of some of them and I think some of them are facing prosecution right now.
He expressed dismay at how they got themselves out of the hook, while revealing that the agency does not have the ‚Äúpower to prosecute‚Äù.
Akpobolokemi, who was a lecturer at the Niger Delta University before his appointment, said these on Channels Television‚Äôs breakfast flagship programme, Sunrise Daily.