· Pollution, insecurity, poaching cripples fishing, marine biodiversity
· MMS Hall of Famers’ Day: Women to sustain peace, unity in Nigeria
By Kenneth Jukpor
As Nigeria grapples with paucity of funds amid unstable global oil prices and the dwindling relevance of crude oil, a large scale fishing expert and former Chairman of Nigeria Fishing Trawler Owners Association (NIFTOA), Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi has revealed how fishing could regain its former position as one of the top revenue earners for the country.
Orakwusi posited that Nigeria needs to implement transformational changes in fishery management and governance to create an environment that supports sustainable fishing to shore up annual fishery production in the country.
She also noted that the country would have to create dedicated fishing terminals, curb the illegal exploitation by international poachers and address security issues and pollution in order to reap the enormous potentials in fishing.
Orakwusi who is also the Chairperson, Nigerian Ship-owners Forum, was speaking during the 2020 MMS Hall of Famers’ Day on Wednesday, last week.
Her words: “When you talk about fishing and seafood, there was a time it ranked as the second foreign exchange earner for the nation. The question is – what has happened?
“A big maritime nation like Nigeria should have a dedicated fishing terminal that should boost fishing activities. This would also create jobs for lots of Nigerians. When we begin to get all these structures right, the fishing industry would boom again”
MMS Plus recalls that a recent report from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) revealed that Nigeria and other nations urgently needed to implement changes in fishery management to shore up annual fishery production by 16.5 million tonnes and annual revenues from fishing by $32 billion.
Orakwusi stressed that fishing has assumed greater importance as a food source in the nation over the years, however, she lamented that the business has lost its place as one of the top revenue earners for Nigeria due to numerous challenges.
“Remember that there was a recent incident of dead fishes on shoreline of Nigerian waters. It is irresponsible for people to discharge used fuel, chemicals, plastics and other items in the ocean. We need to respect the ocean because that is also a means to get food. The pollution and environmental abuse is one of the main problems. We have a lot of resources out there in the sea but today you could get a fish and open it to find plastics. It is wrong and really disheartening.”
“There is also the issue of piracy which the nation has to address. Poaching is another sad occurrence because people come into the country and steal the resources on water and land. Nigerian precious stones and other ornaments are being stolen by foreigners and taken out of the country. We are in the midst of abundant resources that should be for the welfare of the country. When these resources are sustainably tapped and developed, they create employment,” she stated.
Meanwhile, speaking on the event, Orakwusi urged Nigerian women to eschew their differences in ethnicity and religion, but work assiduously to sustain peace and unity in the nation.
“As women, we have to make the difference. We have to guide, protect and ensure that our nation stays united. We should preach peace, love and unity,” she said.
Addressing the women who were celebrated as MMS UN Generation Amazons, Orakwusi stated that they were selected because they excelled in their respective fields.
“These women who are being celebrated today are shining as stars but none of them got to their current positions by rubbing pancakes and make-ups. They got there because they are brilliant and industrious, having worked twice as hard as the men to be recognized.”
“The good thing is that there is no sector in this country where you don’t have a powerful woman. Women are influential as mothers and wives. So, the role of peacemakers should be played by women to talk to their children and husbands. We should also play down on things like religion and ethnicity that so easily divides us,” the Chief Host posited.
Orakwusi also encouraged women to stay focused and endeavour to mentor younger ones in their various fields of endeavour.
Highlighting the role of men in supporting wives with professional careers, Rev. Olotu Clement Oladehinde said: “Every husband should always be supportive and be pleased when the call is for a noble cause”
Mr. Olotu, who is married to the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu, added: “My wife has been a pillar in the house and I have to support her. For instance as few minutes before midnight sometime last week, I helped her pick a call which needed her attention urgently to address certain issue. I had to help attend to it because she was already sleeping. Her phone is always switched on round the clock, it is a tough one, particularly when people deliberately want to disobey the law. It’s very tough when you’re an upright person to work among them. It has been challenging but to God be the glory. He has given her extra strength to cope.”
He stated that he believes that Nigerian women are key in building the nation’s economy, stressing that women should be given more opportunities because the few who have held crucial positions have performed admirably.
Earlier, the convener of the programme and Founder of MMS WOFHOF Initiative, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke described the selected women as a bevy of beauty and brains with exceptional intelligence.
He, however, stressed that women have showed better traits in leadership and environmentally responsible.
“This event is to further emphasize the place of gender parity. These women with impeccable value trajectory have risen and are climbing the ladder. They have demonstrated evidently that humanity and the environment should be the preoccupation of everyone. As they work towards taking their positions as MMS Hall of Famers where values are personified, we present them to the world as the faces of UN Amazons for a sustainable paradise,” Anaroke said.
The women celebrated at the event include: Mrs. Romaine Stella Nwakacha, a Nigerian female professional freight forwarder who has carved a niche for herself in the logistics and transport industry; Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu, currently the Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex (LPC) where she has helped to carry out reforms in these challenging times in Nigerian port environment.
Other women celebrated include: Mrs. Rejoice Ndudinachi who started her working career with Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in 1988 and rose to the position of Airport Manager, Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria; Pharm. (Mrs.) Ngozi Stella Obikili who joined Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in November 1988, as Pharmacist Grade One, rose through the ranks and held several posts such as Coordinator Drug Information Centre, NPA; Chief Port Pharmacist of Lagos Port Complex, Apapa and Tin Can Island Port. In 2016, she was promoted to Assistant General Manager, Occupational Health.
Ngozi Oyewole, the Managing Director of Noxie Limited, a leading manufacturer and service provider in Nigeria with a major emphasis on local content and local manufacturing of bespoke and contemporary Office Furniture, Safety Gears and Equipment (PPE), Corporate Branding; and Mrs. Chizoba C. Anyika is an Assistant Director and Head, Shipping Development, Apapa Port Office of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Chizoba is also the Secretary of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria and Publicity Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (CIoTA) Nigeria.
Mrs. Victoria Tawhi-Michael Tarfa, a Senior Manager at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who currently heads the Industry Associations and Port Promotion Unit at the Corporate and Strategic Communications Division and Mrs. Folake Wole-Soyinka who is the Deputy Director in charge of Corporate Strategy and Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC).
Eminent personalities who attended the event were: the Executive Secretary of NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello, Rear Admiral Anthony Amauche (Rtd), Former President of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA), Mrs. Mary Hamman, President of the African Women in Maritime (WIMA) Nigerian chapter, Hajia Bola Muse, among others.
The event was supported by NPA, Shippers’ Council, NIMASA, Chevron Nigeria Limited and other reputable organizations.
MMS WoFHoF is a non -profit organization with the preoccupation of empowering, training, and producing the next generation of women leaders in the maritime, oil and gas, finance, aviation as well as political leadership sectors.