When the Federal Government established the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) alongside the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the vision was to emphasize the premium it places on Safety, discipline and sanity, through the activities of regulatory authorities.
There is also no doubt, that the two agencies have variously contributed immensely to commendable degrees, in the attainment of these laudable objectives.
Needless to indicate that their task was made more arduous and tasking, with recent soaring statistics of deaths, occasioned by accidents, caused by, among other reasons, non- compliance with safety regulations, particularly refusal to wear life-jackets.
Commendably, the two Government parastatals, have demonstrated strong commitment, dedication and determination in their statutory tasks, with the NIMASA making rescue efforts and rushing food and medical supplies to victims of boat mishaps; even as the NIWA takes the message of enhanced safety, especially the use of life jackets to unprecedented heights.
The Maritime First can authoritatively confirm that NIWA has visited not only the Nukpeko and Okitipupa communities with the enlightenment campaign, but also Lagos, distributing life jackets and fliers; the NIMASA has similarly been involved.
Ironically, while the two agencies continue to stress their safety campaigns, industry watchers have expressed concern that one of the heads of the organizations is treating a major aspect of the campaign, the use of life jacket, with disdain.
Of course, while their comments varied, ranging from the fact that its use might ruin the impeccable dress sense of the former university teacher, or perhaps, with the fact that he comes from a background where an average “son-of-the soil’ could beat an average tilapia, in free for all swimming style contest, they still insist that the non-usage of life jacket, was not in the best reference point, as a viable unique selling point for NIMASA.
Besides, some swore that the NIWA Boss was aware that her counterpart at NIMASA was never wearing a life jacket, and yet kept mute, despite being aware that the gesture contradicts her message and campaign.
When the NIMASA Image maker, Isichei Osamgbi was sent messages as to why the arrowhead ignored the use of jacket, he failed to reply; perhaps another case of disdain?
The Maritime First wishes to plead with the NIMASA boss to act what he preaches by wearing life jacket. Why preach it if he won’t adhere to it? Why allow the body language contradict the core content of the message which is SAFETY?!