Weekend Ginger: Learning to appreciate … kindly diligence

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…As authorities distinguished themselves in hard work

Those who waited for the Weekend Ginger today, thinking it would be about identifying one area of lapses or another would be gracefully disappointed, because the crew has decided that this weekend should be devoted to expressing words of appreciation to those hard working Nigerians, who have assisted to enlarge the nation’s coast. They deserve it!

DAVID MARK
DAVID MARK

For the third consecutive year, piracy index in Somalia waters, an area once considered as the number hotbed for violent crimes has dwindled. Nigeria, within the same period has shown a rising profile, in terms of pirates’ attacks.

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi
NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi

Curbed by increasing international naval patrol and improved ship vigilance, the index showed that 237 attacks were reported as having occurred within the Gulf of Aden and Somalia in 2011; 75 cases in 2012 and only 15 in 2013. There have also been 10 recorded cases, so far this year. Within the same period, the Gulf of Guinea, with Nigeria, as its major player, followed by Ivory Coast and Ghana improved its own record, gradually snatching the inglorious record from Somalia, with a record showing within the past 10 months of this year, over 40 attacks, seven hijackings and 132 crew taken hostage. Now, this figure may also be excluding of those attacks involving canoes, ferries and non-ocean going vessels whose incidents may be outside the purview of the International Maritime Bureau, the specialized international agency for piracy record keeping.

More saddening is the fact that the international shipping community, particularly the shipping Round Table has predicted that more attacks were to be expected between now and 2015, because Nigerians would want to raise campaign funds!

Informed sources told the Maritime First that in so far as Nigeria continues to produced highly trained seafarers at its flagship training school, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron; and the shipping community continues to treat them as wholly incompetent and unemployable, because they lack required sea experience, all because the country failed to provide them either a training vessel or vessel opportunity elsewhere, the nation would never record a slide in piracy attacks index.

We are therefore, gratefully thanking those who have consistently denied the cadets of Oron, the opportunity of having a training vessel, or vessel opportunity elsewhere; for they have also indirectly guaranteed a labour-pool, for potential recruiters of seafarers for barons, who either want to illegally engage in oil-theft, piracy and other crimes on water!

The crew is also sincerely appreciative of the Nigerian Ports Authority’s recent declaration that it would soon embark on efforts to rehabilitate the Tin Can Island Port Access Road.

The Authority’s image-maker, Assistant General Manager, Musa Iliya on November 3, 2014 announced in an interview in Lagos that the NPA was indeed, concerned “about the deplorable condition of the road”.

Perhaps, he should simply have begged the newshound, rather than reiterate what his management had stated so much in the past that the taped message had cracked! Since he acknowledged that the death trap had indeed become a disincentive to ports’ business, and yet gleefully announced that the authority would soon embark on the process of awarding a contract for it, we strongly believe we should not only thank Mallam Musa Iliya, we should also thank his management for at least, acknowledging that they know the deplorable condition. Call it ‘Caveat emptor’ if you like. The simple meaning is: you better be careful when you use the road, because ultimately we know you are on your own!

But our greatest gratitude goes to the Federal Government; which has not only commissioned several ‘electricity kvas’, but also reduced the bill on food import by N2 billion.

Ever since the Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo made the statement on savings from food on Friday October 10, 2014, during the official opening of Lifetime Africa Achievement Prize Economic Forum, in Uyo; I have been watching to see a remarkable slide in the purchasing cost of food items, including rice. There has been none.

Does that mean that the alternative we claimed to have provided, through a re-empowered local agricultural production capacity was a mirage? Have we been hasty in our statistics in terms of local food production; or have we simply tasked our people to belt-tight, in anticipation of bumper local harvests, anchored on bogus statistical data on local food production? Either way, the authorities must be appreciated: they have assisted the citizens to see the increasing need to spend less on new clothes, in favour of food and fairly used clothes!

But, the greatest appreciation must go to the authorities for its laudable policies on power generation and distribution; a policy which enables them to handover newly commissioned kvas, without a caution, against selective rationing! Subsequently, some residential areas today in Ibadan for instance, now enjoy a daily ration of six hours supply, when some would be glad to enjoy fours, in three days.

We are grateful that the Government was already doing something about this. We also learnt that in one instance, it actually re-invited the power concessionaires, listened to their tales of why they couldn’t perform to expectation, and subsequently lent them a chunky percentage of the amount they earlier paid, to become concessionaires. The gesture was so touching, that the Maritime First crew has since been compelled to search out a guy who bought our editors aged car for N100,000; to enable us return 50 percent of his pay, to enable him repair the car and use it properly. What remarkable kindness! What remarkable milk of human kindness!!

We believe the citizens would also know how to reciprocate such kindness, in due course!

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