Like most great maritime nations, all hands need to be on deck to support Federal Government’s efforts in taping into the blue economy, and developing it to such a level that it can contribute far more than currently as projected.
These were the words of the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside, at the celebration of the World Oceans Day, on June 8, with the United Nations focus on Gender and Ocean for this year. Peterside, in his message to commemorate the day said Nigeria’s ocean resources are rich enough to sustain the economy, like most countries with similar endowment.
He also charged stakeholders on the need to celebrate the ocean, its importance, and on how economic diversification can be achieved for sustainable growth and development. He noted that like virtual reality, which has reduced the real world to a global village, the ocean is global and connects people worldwide, thus inspiring continuing action year-round, to protect and restore this amazing resource that they all depend on.
He further observed that nations like Singapore, the Philippines, and Malta, along with the world great economies like the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Russia, and China and a host of others, prosper greatly on their oceans as the bedrock of their economy. As such, with about 90 per cent of world trade being done by sea and shipping, it is time Nigeria joined the league of such great countries by engaging its waters more profitably.
“The World Oceans Day celebration inspires the thinking that recognises that there is one global ocean that connects the entire world. Within this one ocean, there are five distinct oceans: the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and Southern Ocean. And it is already happening that the boundaries of these oceans are invincible, and so it is important that we take steps to ensure that we tap the abundant resources inherent within our maritime endowment because our lives as a nation depends hugely on it,” he said.
Noting that climate change, and marine environment degradation are a concern to Nigeria and the international community, Peterside assured that NIMASA will continue to lend its voice in support of the advocacy and drive, which will further guarantee and complement government’s ease of doing business initiatives.He reiterated that the Agency is open to all forms of partnerships that can help the growth and development of the Nigerian maritime sector, in line with the government’s economic diversification agenda.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), noted that: “The health of the ocean is in decline. Marine biodiversity is becoming increasingly degraded. In this context, the United Nations has made ocean protection a priority.”