The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has pledged to continue to deliver on its mandate as a safety agency, noting that it was for this reason that it entered into new understanding with the Nigerian Air Force.
The NIMASA Director General, Mr Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi made the observation in his goodwill message to the 10th All Nigerian Editors Conference, which ended in Katsina state at the weekend, adding that the gesture was to complement the MOU already entered into with the Nigerian Navy all in a bid towards further safeguarding the country’s maritime domain.
“As we all know, safety of lives and property is a significant prerequisite for the growth and investment in any institution, sector or society. This is why maritime safety and security is engrained in us in NIMASA. It is a way of life; an aspect that is never compromised”, he indicated in an address delivered by his Deputy Director, and Head of Public Relations, Isichei Osamgbi.
He stressed that the agency in furtherance of this goals of effectively covering Nigeria and eight other countries under the Regional Maritime Search and Rescue Centre, has also put in place a robust maritime domain awareness and response system, culminating in the birth of the NIMASA Satellite Surveillance Centre.
“Our desire is to provide safety for all those doing business within Nigerian waters. With the NIMASA Satellite Surveillance Centre, the Agency is now able to respond to any distress call on Nigerian waters and even beyond. The new 24-hour Satellite Surveillance equipment has the capability to detect boats, ships and objects of predefined cross-section floating on water,” the Director General further said.
He also reiterated the NIMASA’s commitment to human capacity development, which he said, was demonstrated in the recent launch of the Nigeria Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, to complement the Agency’s sponsorship of maritime institutes in four universities, namely the University of Lagos; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State; and Niger Delta University, Amassoma, Bayelsa State.
Taking a hard look at the state of the nation, the Director General tasked attendees to use their platform to encourage civility and respect for free and fair elections, saying that a stable democracy, through credible election would engender, strong and vibrant economy capable of enabling citizens fulfil their individual and collective aspirations.
Mr Akpobolokemi expressed optimism that the Nigerian economy was growing in leaps and bounds as demonstrated by increasing volume of trade and foreign direct investment, and noting that it would experience further growth given the consciousness to further strengthen the country’s democracy.
He lauded the theme of the conference – Credible Elections and Good Governance, the Role of the Editor – pointing out that it was quite apt at a time when Nigeria was putting finishing touches to the next general elections, even as maintained the Nigerians have reasons to be optimistic about the future as the economy, especially in her desire to become one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020.
“Nigeria was ranked 52nd in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product at purchasing power parity. But the country’s ranking improved to 40th in 2005 and 26th in 2014, making it the largest within Africa.
“Nigeria is recognized as an emerging market with expanding financial service, communications, and entertainment sectors. Its re-emergent manufacturing sector is the third-largest on the continent, and produces a large proportion of goods and services for the West African sub-region.
“This is why we, at NIMASA play a key role in ensuring that international and local operators have absolute confidence in the Nigerian maritime environment”, he explained further, highlighting that the country was already classified among MINT countries projected to be future economic leaders which included Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey.